Victory for Carpet Installers in Overtime Case
The firm has scored a big victory on behalf of carpet installers in an overtime case in the Southern District of Mississippi. Judge Wingate granted the employees' motion for partial summary judgment, finding that the employer had violated the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The case will now be set for trial solely on the question of damages. Read the full decision here.
Salary work is not always exempt.
This case is a reminder that an employee cannot be made
exempt from overtime merely by paying a salary; the employee must also be performing work duties which qualify for the exemption - that is professional, administrative or supervisory work. Carpet installation and other blue collar manual work can never be exempt
Commissions are not bona fide if they aren't calculated correctly.
Meanwhile, the commission exemption in Section 7(i) will be lost if the employer does not apply the commissions in a consistent and accurate manner. Unexplained changes or errors in payment will cause an otherwise commission employee to become entitled to overtime.
In addition, the calculation of the
guarantee in a commission system requires a great deal of careful accounting, and the balances must be
reconciled regularly or else the
guarantee will be treated as a
salary and the employee may become entitled to overtime.
Entrepreneurs can be individually and personally liable
One final point to note: the owners will not be able to escape liability by bankrupting the company, because they will be individually and personally on the hook for the final judgment. This is one of those unique features of wage and hour law: individuals like owners, managers, and even HR officials can become individually liable to pay the unpaid wages of their employees.
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