U.S.Department of Labor Enforces Overtime Pay Laws

I attended a luncheon today of the National Employment Lawyers Association and the speaker was an Asst. District Director of the U.S.Department of Labor.

She spoke about enforcement actions. Their agency investigates complaints about violations of wage and hour laws. In particular, she talked about enforcement actions and investigations particularly concerning restaurants and funeral homes. She also talked about the misclassification of workers.

Workers can be misclassified by employers in two ways. One, they can be called independent contractors, when in fact they should be an “employee” entitled to overtime pay for hours worked in excess of 40 in a week.

Second, some workers are classified as exempt from overtime when they clearly are non-exempt. This happens especially when an employee is paid a salary. Some employees think that if they are paid a salary, they are not entitled to overtime pay. This is NOT the law. While being paid a salary is one piece of evidence, the key is whether the employee is performing non-exempt job duties, such as menial or routine tasks.

While the Department of Labor can investigate such issues, the speaker noted that they are swamped with complaints and often suggest the individual get a private attorney. At our law firm, we often represent individuals who have overtime claims against an employer.

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About the author: Bruce Coane is an attorney who specializes in labor and employment law, and, immigration law, with offices in Florida and Texas. He may be reached at houstonlaw@aol.com, 713-850-0066 or 305-538-6800.

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