Am I an exempt or non-exempt employee? That is an important question to know as it could affect how much you could actually be making. Today, many companies in Utah in the employment field hand out the position of “manager” like candy. A lot of times, the definition of manager is abused to avoid paying employees overtime.
Sadly, we have seen companies that define employees as “exempt” employees, meaning that they are exempt from overtime when they are really not exempt. There are probably more exempt employees out there that are misclassified in Utah than there should be or you may think. Also, to make matters worse, companies put an hours expectation on these employees. They claim that they are salaried and then in the work statement the demand that employees work a minimum of 50 hours a week.
So not only are some companies failing to pay their employees overtime, they require mandatory overtime. This is a violation of the fair labor standards act as well as Utah’s wage claim act. Also, an employee that fails to pay an employee their salary or deducts salary from an employee that does not meet those hours may have just walked into additional violations of those claims.
If an employee deducts money from a salaried employee for hours not worked, that employee may have just walked into the realm of designating you as a non-exempt employee. They are paying you for hours worked instead of salary. As a result, the company may be required to now pay you overtime as a result of the deduction.
An employer could discipline an employee for hours not worked but they cannot deduct pay on a salaried employee. So what is an exempt employee? An exempt employee is a “manager” with discretionary decisions as to hiring and firing of employees as well as budget decisions and other business decisions. Sometimes individuals who are “team leads” who are over a project with other employees supervising them may be designated as a salary employee by a business. However, if this person has no power to hire or fire someone, or his suggestion to hire and fire someone is given little weight, then that person is still not a manger.
Also, managers are designated to do one thing. Managing. If an individual spends most of their time doing other tasks not related to managing and little time at actually managing individuals, that person may not be an exempt employee. Those are a few of the factors that a court would look at to determine whether or not someone is salaried or not. Also, with unpaid wages, an individual can recover attorney fees and costs.
If the wage claim is over $10,000.00 (a lot of them are) then an individual also have to file in District Court to resolve the claim. Also, it is best to make a demand in writing for payment of wages prior as that may also add to additional damages you can claim. If you make a written demand for wages and file within 60 days, you can also get an additional 60 days of unpaid wages. You can also collect 2.5% of interest per day for any unpaid wages.
Reach out to our Utah employment law firm and attorney if you have questions on whether or not you are an exempt employee or if you have relatives, friends or co-workers you may think may be misclassified.