Workers are classified as either exempt or non-exempt employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The majority of employees in West Virginia and elsewhere in this country are considered to be non-exempt employees. They’re entitled to be paid minimum wages for the first 40 hours that they work. Workers should be paid overtime for any time put in beyond that. Sadly many employers intentionally misclassify workers. This results in employees not receiving the benefits that they deserve.
Federal laws require all exempt employees to get paid $455 or more per week unless they work in a few select roles such as outside sales or as computer professionals. Workers in these industries must be paid an amount that’s higher than the minimum wage.
Individuals who work in professional, executive or administrative roles are considered exempt workers as well. If you’re employed in one of these roles part- or full-time and you’re being paid minimum wage, then you may have been misclassified.
Your employer isn’t supposed to base your classification as an exempt or nonexempt employee on your job title. They’re instead supposed to perform a salary and duties test to determine how your role should be classified. Certain roles that involve manual labor generally never should be classified as exempt roles. Individuals with college degrees aren’t automatically considered exempt workers either.
Each state has set criteria in place for determining whether a worker qualifies as an exempt employee or not. These guidelines must be considered by employers in addition to federal ones when classifying their workers.
You can learn a lot about how you are classified by looking at your check stub. Exempt workers shouldn’t notice any deductions in pay unless they missed one or greater full days from the job or they’re out on unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Exempt workers may be docked pay if they miss work due to temporary military, witness or jury duty.
Employers may also reduce how much their exempt employee gets paid if they violate safety rules, are put on administrative leave or they resigned their position mid-week.
Workers who are misclassified risk being underpaid and being denied benefits that they were potentially entitled to. An employment law attorney in Charleston can advise you of your right to file a claim for back wages if you’ve been misclassified on the job here in West Virginia.