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 are typically overtime eligible. Unfortunately, such workers are often susceptible to wage theft. It’s just often overlooked.
For these employees, what does wage theft look like?
AML Overtime Issues
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 AML, BSA, and KYC workers often face a different wage theft issue — while they may be salaried (not labeled as independent contractors), employers may say they’re overtime-ineligible or “exempt” from the overtime rules which apply to the vast majority of workers. The problem? Chances are, these workers are entitled to overtime pay and that the limited exceptions to the overtime laws are inapplicable.
In order to be exempt under the so-called “administrative exemption,” the employee’s primary duties must include certain responsibilities that include independent judgment and discretion with respect to significant matters. However, companies often have stringent and required policies, procedures and manuals which AML workers must follow, and federal guidance dictates that discretion must be more than just following well-established techniques or manuals.
Classifying anti-money-laundering analysts under the administrative exemption is likely an abuse and violation of the FLSA and its implementing regulations. And it means workers are not being paid the legally mandated amount that they have 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 tens of thousands of dollars each year. That can translate to the loss of tens or even hundreds 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.