When you spend the workday making sure money’s being properly moved and preventing crime, you might forget to look at your own paycheck. But even though anti-money-laundering professionals — AMLs, also known as BSAs (after the Bank Security Act), KYCs (know your client), as well as consultants or analysts — are white-collar workers, they’re still susceptible to wage theft. It’s just often overlooked.
For these employees, what does wage theft look like?
According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), most employees who work over 40 hours in a workweek are owed overtime pay, which should equal time and a half. However, employers often misclassify their workers to avoid paying overtime: That’s illegal.
For AML specialists, misclassification likely means you are labeled as an independent contractor and paid straight time (essentially, your hourly rate instead of time and a half) for all the hours you work, including overtime hours.
Other workers may face a different wage theft issue — while they may be salaried (not labeled as independent contractors), employers may say they’re overtime-ineligible due to the “administrative,” or “white-collar,” exemption. The problem? Chances are, these workers are not eligible for the administrative exemption.
In order to fit the administrative exemption, according to the Department of Labor, the employee’s primary duties must include certain responsibilities concerning significant matters. The agency characterized these responsibilities as such: “The exercise of discretion and independent judgment involves the comparison and evaluation of the possible courses of conduct and acting or making a decision after the various possibilities have been considered.”
Classifying anti-money-laundering analysts under the administrative exemption is likely an abuse and violation of the FLSA and subsequent regulations. And it means workers are paid less than they’ve earned.
Why These Unpaid Wages Matter
While missing out on a few hours of overtime each week might seem like a small sum, it adds up. AMLs who aren’t properly paid overtime may be losing thousands of dollars each year. That translates into the loss of tens of thousands of dollars over the course of their career. Many AMLs have faced this issue in the past. It’s important to protect yourself as well as recover the money you earned and deserve for your hard work.
AMLs, BSAs, KYCs, and other financial consultants and analysts may be eligible to recover unpaid wages from their employers. If you believe you’re underpaid due to shady employer practices, reach out to one of our employment attorneys for a free and confidential case evaluation.
If you’re worried about workplace repercussions for taking action on unpaid wages, state and federal labor laws strictly forbid employers from retaliating against employees. That includes reprisals for speaking with a lawyer about potential labor violations. Retaliation is illegal. Getting paid a proper wage is not only legal, it’s your right.
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