Most employees in Oregon understand that federal law guarantees that they will be paid mandatory overtime at 1.50 times their ordinary wage for hours worked more than 40 in any given week.
However, many employers attempt to skirt this requirement by giving their employees job titles that appear to put them in job categories that are exempt from the mandatory overtime law. Every employee who receives an hourly wage should understand their basic right to receive mandatory overtime.
The basics of mandatory overtime
The Fair Labor Standards Acct that was passed in 1938 as part of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal reforms states that all employees who are not exempt from the Act are entitled to receive mandatory overtime pay at 1.50 times the rate of their usual wage for hours in excess of 40 that are worked in a single week.
A work week is defined as 168 consecutive hours. The exemptions exclude from the mandator overtime requirements employees who serve in a management or supervisory capacity. Some employers believe that they can create their own categories of exempt employees by simply assigning a title to a job. However, simply identifying an employee as a manager or supervisor is not sufficient.
Mere job titles do not create exempt status
The U.S. Department of Labor explicitly says that a job title alone cannot establish the exempt status of an employee. The classification must rest on bona fide facts of the position in question. Blue-collar workers who perform repetitive tasks with their hands are not exempt. To qualify for an exempt position, the employee must perform work related to the management of the business operations of the employer.
Suing for back pay and overtime
Any employee who has been wrongfully denied mandatory overtime can sue the employer in federal court. If the employee prevails, the employer must pay the employee’s court costs and attorneys’ fees. Anyone who believes that they may have been improperly denied mandatory overtime may wish to seek the advice of an experienced employment lawyer for an analysis of the facts of the case and an opinion on the likelihood of prevailing in court.