Reclassified Employees Entitled to Back Overtime Pay

The federal government has strict regulations about overtime pay laws that affect how much employees are entitled to earn based on their job’s status. People in exempt job positions are not entitled to overtime pay, but those in nonexempt positions do qualify. While companies have a responsibility to classify jobs correctly, sometimes they make mistakes in applying the classification system that shortchange employees in what should be nonexempt positions.

Correct Classification

Most employees who are paid an hourly wage are classified as nonexempt employees and must receive overtime pay. Exempt employees typically receive a salary and their job duties must meet several tests to qualify. However, many people in the IT industry who provide technical services to clients have been paid a fixed salary, and no overtime, when their job duties did not meet the required tests – meaning they have been misclassified and entitled to receive overtime pay.

Ricoh, like many other IT related employers, recently changed its technical service employee classifications to nonexempt and began paying them overtime. Ricoh did not, however, offer to pay its misclassified technical service employees the amounts they were owed for all of the unpaid overtime hours they had already worked over the past 2-3 years. These technical service workerswho joined the company before the change in classification, have filed a lawsuit seeking compensation for the back overtime wages they lost before Ricoh made the change.

While the the line between exempt and nonexempt employees isn’t always crystal clear concerning overtime pay laws, if your employer expects you to do any of the following, you may be entitled to overtime pay:

  • Work in the field performing repairs and/or service
  • Wear uniforms
  • Subtract hours for time spent waiting for dispatch to your next job , or
  • Repair equipment off the clock

overtime pay

Photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/68751915@N05/6848823919/

Past Overtime Compensation

Your job may qualify for a nonexempt status, opening up the possibility of receiving not only future overtime pay, but also compensation for hours worked in the past. Your best recourse if in doubt is to keep documented records of your work activity, including the hours put in on the job and the duties you perform. You may be able to recover two to three years of overtime pay if your employee status has been misclassified. Some states, like New York or California, have overtime pay laws that honor claims going back even further.

While labor laws can be complex, it’s always a good idea to know the difference between exempt or nonexempt status and which classification your job actually falls under. If you believe that your exempt status is a mistake, do some research or contact a lawyer. The overtime pay you may be entitled to may very well be worth the effort.

Stephen Craig is a part of an elite team of writers who have contributed to hundreds of blogs and news sites. Follow him @SCraigSEO.

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