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Understanding your employee classification

Most of the time, we talk about the important of not classifying employees in the workplace along lines according to race, gender, age, sex or nationality. But there is one classification that is critical and it's really important that employers get it right. That classification is whether you are an exempt or non-exempt employee.

What exactly does that mean? An exempt employee is someone who is not generally eligible for overtime. Typically, these are people in management positions of some kind, but they don't have to be supervisors. The federal government and state law mandate certain provisions regarding who can be called exempt -- including cutoffs for how much people make per year. If you don't make a certain amount each year, you can't usually be considered exempt.

A non-exempt person is someone who is paid hourly or is paid a salary that can be converted to hourly to calculate overtime. These individuals are paid overtime when they work over 40 hours in one week.

Obviously, companies experience a benefit from making someone an exempt employee. They can then require that person to work a certain amount of overtime without paying them any extra money. Because of this, it's possible that a company would misclassify employees to save money. It's even more possible that a company might make an error in classification, especially for someone who is near the line between exempt and non-exempt.

If you believe you have been misclassified and are not being paid overtime you have a right to, then bring it up with your employer. If the situation is not remedied, our firm can help. We work with you to understand the specifics and provide guidance on whether you should file a lawsuit.

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