Both federal and state labor laws divide workers into two categories: exempt employees and non-exempt employees. Exempt employees are not entitled to take advantage of certain labor law protections including the right to receive overtime for hours worked over 40-per week. Unfortunately, many employers try to incorrectly categorize non-exempt employees as exempt for purposes of saving the company money. If this happens to you or if your rights are violated by your employer in any way related to classification as an exempt employee, you may be able to take legal action.
- Under the laws in Massachusetts, only certain employees can be considered exempt. For example:
- Bona fide executives and professionals may be considered exempt. The term “bona fide” means that these workers must legitimately be executives or professionals and not simply defined as such for purposes of avoiding overtime requirements.
- Bona fide administrative employees. Typically, the employee must have a salary of at least $455 weekly and must be engaged in non-manual work that is directly related to managing the company or interacting with customers.
- Certain computer and creative professionals are considered to be exempt employees.
- Outsides salespeople can be considered exempt.
- Some mechanics at auto dealers may be considered exempt.
- Fishermen and seamen are generally exempt from overtime.
- Seasonal farm workers can be considered exempt.
- Truck drivers may be exempt under certain situations.
One key factor used to assess whether an employee is actually exempt or not is the amount of independent judgment that the employee is able to exercise in relation to matters of significance. In other words, exempt employees are employees who have freedom to make important decisions at work rather than just doing a narrow range of tasks according to explicit instructions and policies.Violations of Labor Law Related to Exempt/Non-Exempt Employees
The most common violation of labor laws that employers commit when it comes to exempt and non-exempt employees is the incorrect classification of workers as exempt to avoid the obligation to pay overtime. However, employers can also make other mistakes as well such as furloughing employees who are exempt and docking their pay for time off. This is not permitted by law, as a salaried worker must be paid his full salary unless the worker does not work at all during the course of the week.Getting Legal Help
When your employer has deprived you of wages for any reason in violation of labor laws, you are entitled to seek a financial recovery and, in most cases, to triple damages under Massachusetts’ worker protection laws. Our legal team at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman can help. Give us a call or contact us online today to learn more about how we can assist you.