Hard work is on the way!
A few weeks ago, I attended a lecture presented by Matthew Gardner who is an economist and a principal of Gardner Economics. He also frequently lectures on the state of our national and local economies and the effect they have on real estate markets.
During his presentation, he forecasted that employment growth in the Seattle area would be negative for the rest of 2009 but that employer revenue levels would remain constant. In response to this statement a member of the audience asked, “How will companies maintain their current revenue while continuing to layoff employees?” Gardner’s response: “Companies will work their employees harder and require longer hours to make up for the layoffs.”
After this dialogue concluded, my fiancé who was with me asked me: “Can an employer just work their employees harder without paying overtime?” As with most legal questions, the answer to the question is “it depends.”
Only nonexempt employees are entitled to overtime. Employers often classify their employees as either nonexempt or exempt. However, even if an employer classifies an employee as exempt, he/she may still be entitled to overtime and other benefits under federal and Washington state wage/hour laws. What counts is whether the worker is exempt within the meaning of those laws not what the employer calls him/her. There are several exceptions and tests that a lawyer considers to determine if an employee is in fact exempt. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough space here for me to list all this information.
Long story short, if your employer is working you long hours in excess of 40 hours a week and not paying you overtime, your employer could be violating your rights. To find out more about your right to overtime or other wages feel free to contact me or Tim Pauley at 206-583-0050.