Non-Exempt Overtime Employees
The federal Fair Labor Standards Act and Illinois law require employers to pay certain employees overtime wages for all hours worked over 40 in a given week. For example, a covered employee who typically makes $25 per hour must be paid $37.50 per hour for any time worked over the 40-hour threshold. When their rights are violated, our Chicago overtime lawyers can aggressively represent them.
The laws categorize workers as either "exempt" or "non-exempt." Non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime pay, while exempt employees are not. Exempt employees are typically those who perform so-called "white collar" jobs like executive, professional, administrative, outside sales and certain technology positions. In determining whether a particular worker is exempt, courts look at the employee's specific job duties, rather than his or her job title.
The exemption status determination requires a complex, fact-intensive assessment of an employee's individual skills and responsibilities. Unfortunately, many workers are often misclassified. If you believe you have been wrongly classified as "exempt" under overtime laws, please contact us to see how our employment lawyers may assist you.
In addition to misclassification, there are a number of other ways in which employers regularly deny their workers the overtime pay to which they are entitled. Poor time and record keeping, for example, and requirements that workers perform certain job activities "off the clock" can prevent an employee from being credited for all of their time worked. A "flat salary" compensation system, on the other hand, may mean that a worker gets paid the same amount each period, even if he or she works more than 40 hours in a week.
An employee who has been denied overtime pay for any reason, including being misclassified as "exempt" under the operative laws, can sue his or her employer for back pay as well as other penalties and damages. As a result, employers typically put up a vigorous fight in defense of overtime claims.
Misclassification overtime cases frequently proceed as class or collective actions on behalf of a group of employees, either in similar positions or performing comparable tasks, who allege that the employer uniformly failed to properly classify them as non-exempt and pay overtime. The class action route allows a single court to consider company policies that affect a number of workers in one matter. It also allows workers to raise relatively small claims that may otherwise be too costly for an individual to pursue alone.
The FLSA authorizes workers to sue an employer in a collective action, which is similar to a class action, but with certain distinctions. In a class action, for instance, certain employees are automatically considered members of the class for whom the suit is brought unless they actively "opt out." A collective action, however, requires employees to take specific action to "opt in" in order to be part of the suit.
At the Chicago Overtime Law Center, our Chicago overtime attorneys have successfully represented many employees in overtime claims, both individually and on a class-wide basis. Our lawyers are dedicated to protecting clients' rights to overtime pay and provide aggressive representation on their behalf. Please contact us online or at (877) 990-4990 to schedule a free and confidential consultation with an overtime lawyer in the Chicago area.