The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) exists to protect workers all over the country from abuse by their employers. The FLSA provides things like a federal minimum wage and a definition of overtime, with a requirement to pay a higher hourly wage for all overtime worked. However, the FLSA does not protect all workers.
The FLSA was specifically designed to protect lower-level hourly employees because they are the most expendable, and therefore, have little or no leverage against their employers. The FLSA assumes higher-level employees have more leverage against their employers, and so the FLSA exempts them from many of the protections it provides to lower-level employees. But the FLSA is very specific about the types of employees that can qualify for the exemption.
The first requirement is that all exempt employees must earn an annual salary of at least $23,600. Then they must fit into one of three categories: administrative, executive, or professional.
The administrative category requires employees to provide administrative assistance directly to an executive. The executive category requires employees to spend most of their time at work managing other employees, be able to discipline those employees, and have direct say in the hiring and firing of those employees. The executive category is most often misunderstood to mean anyone with the title of manager, but if they don’t meet all these requirements, they’re not eligible for the exemption. The professional category covers all workers who require a particular set of skills or level of education to perform their job, such as actors, musicians and doctors.
In addition to the federal FLSA, each state has its own labor laws regulating the workers within the state. California, for example, requires its employers to provide all their hourly workers with meal and rest breaks throughout the day. For every four hours of work, California employees are entitled to one paid rest break lasting at least ten minutes. For every five hours worked, they’re entitled to one unpaid meal break lasting at least half an hour. For every day an employee does not take one of these breaks, for any reason, she is entitled to one hour’s worth of wages, in addition to all wages earned that day.
BCI Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Los Angeles recently settled a wage and hour class action lawsuit for allegedly misclassifying employees as exempt from overtime. The class action lawsuit was filed by Tom M. and Phillip E. on behalf of all production supervisors and merchandising supervisors who worked for BCI during the four-year class period.
The lawsuit alleges that, as a result of the misclassification, supervisors who worked for BCI and were eligible for overtime compensation and breaks were denied them. The lawsuit further alleges that BCI failed to provide its employees with accurate itemized wage statements and committed unfair business practices. Failing to properly compensate workers often qualifies as unfair business practices because it gives the employer an unfair advantage over other businesses that properly compensate their workers.
BCI agreed to settle the lawsuit for $1.1 million, which means each of the 142 class members who submitted valid claim forms will receive about $4,300 each.he attorneys at Chicago Overtime Law Center have decades of experience litigating wage and hour cases, including overtime, vacation pay, meal breaks, and tips against Banks, Mortgage Brokerage, Real-Estate Brokerages, financial services companies and private security firms. We have offices conveniently located in Oak Brook and Chicago, Illinois near Mundelein, North Chicago and Waukegan. Contact the Berwyn and Cicero overtime lawyers and attorneys at the Chicago Overtime Law Center today at 312-869-4095. We are looking to represent financial advisor associates, appraisers, loan and mortgage brokers who have not been paid overtime and have been mis-classified as managers.