Best Ohio Overtime and Wage Claims Attorney Answer: Am I legally entitled to overtime wages? Does Ohio law require an employer to pay overtime wages? What does it mean if my employer says that I am “exempt” from overtime wages?
Many types of employees are legally entitled to be paid overtime at a rate of one-and-a-half times their hourly pay rate when they work more than forty hours per week under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). One general exception to the right to overtime wages occurs if the employee is an executive position such as holding the title of being a “Manager.” However, having been given the title of “Manager” or a similar title should not, and does not, on its own, exempt an individual employee from being entitled to overtime wages. The determination of whether a particular employee is an “exempt” employee (an employee who is not legally entitled to overtime wages), or a “non-exempt” employee (an employee legally entitled to overtime wages) is a question of law that in most instances requires the advise and legal counsel of an experienced overtime claims attorney.
Some factors that are used to determine whether an employee is exempt from being paid overtime wages include, but are not limited to: the employees actual job functions and duties (regardless of the employees formal job description); the ability to hire and/or fire other employees; and the actual exercise of other managerial powers.
Our wage and hour attorneys have addressed this wage theft issue before. (see Should I Be Paid Overtime Even If I Have The Title Manger? Top Ohio Wage and Hour Lawyer Reply; and Top Overtime Wage Attorney Reply: Am I Entitled To Overtime If I’m A Manager In Name Only?). However, given how often this type of wage theft occurs by misclassifying employees, it is worth addressing another wage and hour case as an example.
The issue of how and whether particular employees should be classified as exempt or non-exempt employees for purposes of overtime wages was recently decided by the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut in Shallin et al v. Payless Shoesource, Inc. et al, In Shallin, the retail shoe company Payless Shoes, dba Payless Shoesource Inc. (hereinafter referred to as “Payless”) agreed to settle a class action lawsuit for nearly $3,000,000.
After attorney’s fees are paid out of the near $3,000,000 settlement, the reminder of the settlement amount will be divided among the 2,197 class members to the lawsuit. The class action lawsuit alleged that Payless purposefully and willfully misclassified a large number of employees as “exempt employees” in order to avoid paying them otherwise legally entitled to overtime wages as provided for the FLSA.
The class members of this action include current and former Payless employees who had been assigned the title of “Store Manager” or “Store Leader” who worked at Payless stores from March 2011 to the present. In short, Payless had attempted to evade paying thousands of qualified non-exempt employees overtime wages.
Despite Payless’s arguments to the contrary, the members of the class action successfully asserted that although they held titles such as “Store Manager” or “Store Leader,” they, in reality, spent the majority of their time in stores alone and primarily performed non-managerial duties such as operating cash registers, cleaning, greeting and serving customers, and answering phones. Thus, because these employees spent more than 50 percent of their time performing these type of rank-and-file type of job duties, they should have been classified as non-exempt employees, and therefore, should have been entitled to overtime wages as legally provided for by the FLSA. By misclassifying the nearly 2,200 employees as exempt, Payless was able to save perhaps hundreds of millions of dollars that should have been paid to these employees in the form of overtime wages.
While Payless has agreed to settle the class action law suit for nearly $3,000,000, the terms of the settlement allowed Payless to maintain its denial of any unlawful activity or failure to comply with the FLSA. While this denial of liability may be viewed by Payless as a minor success in its’ defense of this lawsuit, such denials are common to the terms of settlement agreements. The real victory remains squarely on the side of the Payless employees and the attorneys representing them whose efforts to enforce the protections of the FLSA were rewarded by this large settlement agreement.
Placing a “Manager” or “Leader” title on an employee for the purpose of denying an employee overtime wages and the protections afforded by the FLSA is a violation of the law. Protecting the rights of employees, and holding employers accountable and liable for unlawful employee practices is the mission of the attorneys of The Spitz Law Firm. Employees who are victim to these type of unlawful employer practices should be sure to call the right attorney.
If you believe that your employer is not paying you all of your wages for all of your lawfully earned overtime compensation at a rate of one and half times your normal wages as requires under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act or Ohio Minimum Fair Wage Standards laws or you are an nonexempt employee that has been misclassified as exempt or independent contractor, contact the attorneys at The Spitz Law Firm today for a free and confidential initial consultation. The wage and hour lawyers at The Spitz Law Firm will provide you with the best options for your overtime pay dispute situation. If you even think that you may be entitled to overtime pay that you are not being paid, call 866-797-6040.
The materials available at the top of this overtime, wage and hour web page and at this employment law website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. If you are still asking, “Am I entitled to overtime?”, “Does my job have to pay me for …”, “My paycheck is not right…” or “What do I do if…”, the your best option is to contact an Ohio overtime attorney to obtain advice with respect to FLSA questions or any particular employment law issue. Use and access to this employment law website or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship. The legal opinions expressed at the top of this page or through this site are the opinions of the individual lawyer and may not reflect the opinions of The Spitz Law Firm, Brian Spitz, or any individual attorney.