I have an assistant manager title, but I seem to have the same duties as a cashier or floor person. Am I being denied an honest paycheck?

In some cases, people in the retail industry receive lofty titles but essentially perform the same duties as people working hourly. For instance, a retail store or similar outlet may hire you as an assistant manager and pay you a regular salary, but you may find that you perform the same work as a cashier or sales associate.

Sometimes, retail store owners hire people on a salary basis to avoid paying overtime. Rather than hiring several people to fulfill their business needs, they hire one and expect them to work as much as the job requires.

If you’re working a job and find that you handle many of the same duties as hourly workers, you may be underpaid, especially if you consistently work overtime. Schedule a free case evaluation with a labor and employment lawyer at Morgan & Morgan to find out more.

Do I Have a Case If I Regularly Work Overtime in a Salaried Position?

Individuals who earn a regular salary often work overtime to suit the needs of the business. However, issues can arise if their duties align with hourly workers’ duties.

Consider the case of an assistant manager working in a retail outlet. The assistant manager must ring up customers, greet clients, and keep the store clean and well stocked. 

They generally perform customer service duties and have few management responsibilities except for opening or closing the store. The assistant manager works over 40 hours a week in various shifts that change each week.

Several sales associates have the same duties as the assistant manager. They also work full time in varying shifts. However, they receive overtime whenever they work more than 40 hours weekly.

The assistant manager may have a case to collect overtime since their duties are essentially the same as those of an hourly sales associate. A labor and employment lawyer can review the circumstances to determine whether their pay is unfair.

What Laws Govern Overtime?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) governs overtime. According to the regulation, when you’re an exempt employee, you’re ineligible for overtime.

The FLSA classifies exempt employees based on their job duties and earnings. To be considered exempt from overtime, an employee must be viewed as an executive, administrator, professional, computer employee, or outside sales worker. 

However, simply assigning someone a job title that fits into these categories is not enough to make them an exempt employee. 

For instance, executive employees are exempt if they actively manage at least two workers, contribute to hiring and firing decisions, and manage a department or the company itself. 

Going back to the case of the assistant manager at the retail outlet, they could only be declared exempt from overtime if they fulfill all three of these conditions. If they’re not actively managing more than two employees or don’t participate in hiring decisions, they are entitled to overtime, regardless of their title.

What Are the Penalties for Violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act?

The Department of Labor investigates violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. If an employee or other individual reports a potential violation to the Department of Labor, department officials will investigate it swiftly. 

If the employer violates the FLSA, the Department of Labor will require the employer to pay the employee any owed back pay. It may also ask the employer to change their business operations to meet FLSA rules. 

If the violation is particularly egregious, the Department of Labor may subject the employer to a fine of $10,000 for each infringement. If the employer continuously violates the FLSA, they may receive a fine of $1,100 for each offense. 

Criminal penalties are also possible for employers who willfully disobey the Fair Labor Standards Act.

How Long Does It Take the Department of Labor to Investigate a Violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act?

Following a complaint, the Department of Labor will investigate a Fair Labor Standards Act violation immediately. Sometimes, an investigation finalizes within a few weeks. Other investigations may take longer — occasionally, up to six months.

Do I Have an Employment Law Case If I Am Incorrectly Classified as an Exempt Employee?

You may have an employment law case if you believe you are incorrectly classified as an exempt employee. You will need to show that you meet certain conditions, like regularly working overtime and receiving a salary lower than the minimum wage of your state. A labor and employment lawyer can determine whether your employer is violating the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Can I Be Fired If I File a Complaint With the Department of Labor Concerning My Exempt Status?

No. Federal laws prevent employers from firing employees who file complaints with the Department of Labor. Employers cannot take any retaliatory action against you, such as threatening you or reducing your pay. If an employer behaves in a retaliatory manner against you, it may be considered wrongful retaliation.

Get Help With Your Wage Lawsuit From Morgan & Morgan

Morgan and Morgan is a personal injury law firm that specializes in all types of personal injury law. A labor and employment lawyer on our team can help you map out your next steps forward in an employment dispute. 

Schedule a free case review with one of our skilled attorneys to get started.