Exempt Overtime Employees

Federal and State laws require employers to pay a wide variety of workers overtime wages for certain hours worked beyond a minimum weekly amount. Whether you are entitled to overtime pay depends largely on whether you are classified as "exempt" or "non-exempt" under the law. Our Chicago overtime lawyers can help explain the difference to you.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), along with state and local laws in certain areas, establishes certain basic overtime pay guidelines for employers. The law requires that covered workers be paid overtime wages - at a rate of one-and-one-half-times the worker's regular pay rate - for all hours worked in excess of 40 each week. A worker who normally earns $20 per hour, for example, must be paid $30 per hour for those hours worked beyond the 40 hour threshold.

The FLSA protects many full- and part-time workers, including those who are paid largely in tips. Whether a particular employee is covered under the law (and therefore entitled to overtime pay) depends on his or her exemption status. Exempt workers are not subject to the FLSA's protections, while those who are classified as non-exempt enjoy the safeguards of the Act's legally-mandated overtime pay, minimum wage and other employment standards.

A specific worker's status as exempt or non-exempt depends on the actual work that he or she does each day. So-called "white collar" workers, like those in many executive, professional, administrative, outside sales, and technology positions, are generally considered exempt. Everyone else is largely considered non-exempt. The law focuses specifically on the individual worker's particular job duties, rather than his or her job title, to determine the employee's exemption status.

FLSA classification can be a complicated matter and is one that employers often get wrong. Sometimes they don't perform the necessary fact-intensive analysis of a given worker's skills and duties. On other occasions, they simply reach the wrong conclusion at the end of this analysis. Under either scenario, a worker who is wrongly misclassified as exempt loses out on the right to earn overtime pay, as well as other important protections concerning their wages and hours.

If you believe you have been misclassified as exempt under the FLSA, contact us to speak with one of our nationwide employment lawyers about how we may be able to assist you. Representing clients throughout Illinois and across the country, we are committed to protecting workers' rights to earn honest pay for an honest day’s work.

An employee who has been denied overtime pay as a result of being misclassified as exempt (or for any other reason, including being forced to work "off the clock") can sue his or her employer for back pay as well as other penalties and damages. Employers often defend these claims aggressively because of the significant amount of money involved.

At the Chicago Overtime Law Center, our overtime lawyers understand that suing your employer is not an easy thing to do, particularly in tough economic times. That's why we stand with our clients every step of the way in the process to ensure that their rights are protected to the fullest extent of the law. To schedule a free and confidential consultation with one of our Chicago overtime attorneys, please contact us online or at (312) 869-4095.

Chicago Overtime Lawyer Blog - Exemptions