Supervising Two Employees

The Fair Labor Standards Act and laws in many states require employers to pay most of their workers at a higher overtime rate - usually "time-and-a-half" - for all hours worked after 40 in a given week. The overtime mandate does not apply to certain workers deemed "exempt" under the laws, however. Exempt workers are generally those in certain executive, administrative, and professional positions. At the Chicago Overtime Law Center, our Chicago overtime lawyers are well versed in the various exemptions and the common ways in which employers use them to avoid paying overtime.

In determining whether a particular worker qualifies for the exempt executive classification under the FLSA, courts look beyond his or her job title and focus instead on actual day-to-day duties. First, an employee must make a certain minimum salary per week. Additionally, the employee's duties must primarily include managing an enterprise, department or subdivision, including regularly directing the work of at least two employees (or the equivalent of two employees), and he or she must generally have the authority to hire and fire employees.

Across the country, a wide variety of workers are wrongly denied overtime pay every day. Sometimes it's because an employer doesn't know that it is required to pay a certain worker overtime. Other times, it's because the employer simply doesn't want to pay overtime. Like the other FLSA exemptions, the classification of an employee as an executive under the Act can be a complicated, fact-intensive process that employers often get wrong. 

The "supervise two people" requirement is often misconstrued in a way that limits workers who would otherwise be eligible from earning overtime pay. It is important to keep in mind that the supervisor at issue must direct the work of two or more employees customarily and regularly, rather than occasionally or sporadically. “Two or more employees” means two full-time workers (each working 40 hours per week) or their equivalent. For example, that could mean one full-time worker and 2 part-time workers (working 20 hours a week per employee).

But just supervising two employees isn't enough to qualify for the exemption. The supervising worker must also perform actual management duties. Among other functions, that includes interviewing, hiring and training, appraising and monitoring productivity, developing budgets, setting work hours and pay rates, and disciplining employees. A worker who performs many of these duties is likely to be considered an exempt executive, even if he or she also performs a number of "regular" job duties.

If you believe that you have been mistakenly classified as an executive or unlawfully denied overtime pay for any other reason, contact the Chicago Overtime Law Center. Our Illinois overtime lawyers represent workers in unpaid overtime cases in both state and federal courts, and try to work with employers to resolve these issues without litigation when possible. We are dedicated to protecting workers' rights to fair pay and have previously obtained recoveries for our clients in excess of $1 million. Contact us online or call (312) 869-4095 for a free consultation with one of our Chicago overtime attorneys to see how we may be able to assist you.