Attorneys James T. Carey and P. Zachary Stewart

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Misclassification can cost workers overtime pay

On Behalf of | Aug 31, 2020 | Overtime And Wage Issues

Time is money for those who are paid by the hour. Often, West Virginia employees receive their weekly schedule and calculate how much money they can expect to earn based on the hours they will work. Picking up an extra shift means a bigger paycheck unless those employees are victims of misclassification.

Who are nonexempt employees?

Employees who work more than 40 hours a week qualify for overtime as long as they are not exempt from the overtime rules outlined in the Fair Labors Standards Act. A nonexempt employee is generally one who earns an hourly wage, typically does manual work and who does not have authority to make administrative decisions. On the other hand, exempt employees typically have professional degrees or certification, and they receive a salary with other benefits to compensate for any overtime they may work.

However, it is not uncommon for an employer to classify a nonexempt worker as exempt to avoid paying overtime rates. For example, an employee may have the title of a manager but have no authority over other employees and still spend most of his or her time on the job doing assignments meant for hourly workers. The misclassified employee may also earn significantly less than the minimum limit to qualify as exempt.

What should misclassified employees do?

A West Virginia employee who is missing the chance to earn overtime pay because of misclassification as an exempt worker may be the victim of an honest mistake. An employer may be willing to correct the mistake to avoid further legal trouble. However, it is wise for any employees who suspect they have been misclassified to seek legal advice on the most appropriate way to reclaim any lost wages.