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An improper job classification could be a wage and hour violation

A job misclassification may mean you are entitled to unpaid overtime.

As Smartphones become ubiquitous, many employers encourage round-the-clock availability. Yet not every position is exempt or salaried. A misclassification can lead to a wage and hour dispute if employees do not receive overtime wages to which they are entitled.

The U.S. Department of Labor recently announced that LinkedIn had agreed to pay almost six million dollars related to unpaid overtime. According to a press release from the DOL, 359 former and current employees at branches across the country and in New York will receive back wages for overtime hours and liquidated damages.

An investigation by the agency Wage and Hour Division found that the company had violated overtime and record-keeping requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. In addition to paying the overtime wages, LinkedIn also agreed to offer additional educational materials and training to employees and managers on off-the-clock work and company policies prohibiting retaliation against employees who raise concerns about workplace issues.

The affected employees were inside salespeople receiving commission. Because of an exempt misclassification, these employees did not receive overtime when they worked more than 40 hours a week.

This brings up the issue of what positions are exempt. This was an interesting case, because field sales positions are generally exempt.

Exempt or non-exempt position?

Whether a position is exempt affects overall pay. The FLSA requires that non-exempt employees receive at least the federal minimum wage and then time and one-half for any hours worked beyond 40 in a week.

A fine line exists between what qualifies as an exempt, salaried position and a non-exempt, hourly position. Generally, executive, administrative, professional and outside sales positions are exempt. However, job titles alone are not enough to determine whether a position is exempt or non-exempt.

An employer who violates the FLSA is liable for back wages and liquidated damages equaling the unpaid overtime wages. The law also requires that an employer keep accurate time and payroll records. Employers may not retaliate against the employee who raises the issue.

Unfortunately, off-the-clock hours are all too common. An employer may increase the productivity goals to a point where employees need to put in extra hours to achieve a goal. While management may stress that it is not appropriate to work off the clock, it can place an employee in a hard spot when trying to achieve and exceed goals.

If you worry that your position has been misclassified exempt denying you overtime wages for long workweeks, contact an experienced employment lawyer. These cases are complicated and varied based on individual facts and position duties, but you may be entitled to back wages.

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