The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) defines things like minimum wage and overtime in order to prevent employers from taking advantage of their workers. The federal minimum wage is currently set at $7.25 per hour and overtime is defined as any time spent working after eight hours a day or forty hours a week. Under the FLSA, all hourly, nonexempt employees are entitled to one and one-half times their normal hourly rate of pay for all the overtime they work. The FLSA protects all employees working in the U.S., regardless of their citizenship status.
The FLSA does allow for some exceptions to its overtime requirement, but it is very specific about the qualifications employees need to meet in order to be considered overtime exempt. The three main categories for overtime exemption are administrative, executive, and professional. In order to qualify for the exemption under the administrative category, an employee must perform primarily office work and provide administrative assistance directly to an executive. The executive category consists of anyone who spends the majority of her time at work managing other employees. Some of the requirements for this category include being able to discipline the employees she manages, and having significant say in the hiring and firing of those employees. For the professional category, an employee’s job must require them to have a certain set of skills or level of education in order to fulfill their responsibilities. For example, attorneys, physicians, and performers generally fit under the professional category.
According to a recent wage and hour lawsuit against General Dynamics, the defense contractor allegedly misclassified its workers as overtime exempt on a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services contract. The wage and hour lawsuit was filed on behalf of four different employees, all of whom allege they were misclassified as exempt from overtime and, as a result, were not properly compensated for all the time they worked.
The parties have agreed to settle the lawsuit for $65,000 and a U.S. District judge has recently granted final approval of the terms of the settlement, which means General Dynamics can start making payments and put the dispute behind them for good. Under the terms of the agreement, Jon Marte is due to receive $20,908, Melissa Ward will be paid $12,801, John Charcas will get $5,974, and $2,987 will go to William Pierce. The different amounts are based on the number of hours each employee worked according to a joint memorandum they submitted. The plaintiffs’ attorneys will also receive $22,331 in fees and legal costs as part of the settlement agreement.
Settling outside of court is often the best policy for both parties because legal battles have a tendency to drag on in the courts for months, if not years. The longer they go on, the more expensive they become as each side racks up more and more legal fees associated with fighting the dispute in court. By settling outside of court, General Dynamics avoids the possibility of a conviction and the plaintiffs get the certainty of receiving some compensation for their claims.
The Chicago class action attorneys at the Chicago Overtime Law Center have three decades of experience fighting to help employees who are victims of wage, overtime and tip theft by their employers. We have a team of Chicago unpaid overtime lawyers who concentrate on prosecuting state and nationwide class action lawsuits. Our attorneys work out of Chicago and Oak Brook offices and pursue claims for workers all over the Chicago area including Carol Stream and Wheaton. We protect unpaid workers who haven’t received overtime throughout the Chicago area including in DuPage, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, Kane and Cook Counties.
Our Libertyville and Gurnee overtime lawyers are intimately familiar with the issues that arise during wage claim litigation, and we know the laws that govern overtime cases well. Many employers mis-classify employees as being exempt from overtime laws and pay workers salaries instead of hourly wages in order to avoid paying them overtime. Some employers mistakenly classify employees as exempt and others intentionally do so in order to circumvent the law. In either case, workers do not receive the wages they should, and a lawsuit may be the only way to recover their earned wages.
The Chicago Overtime Law Center is based in Chicago and Oak Brook, and represents clients throughout the country who have unpaid overtime and other employment right claims.