lawsuits involving office workers have typically involved "off the
clock" work and employers mistakenly classifying employees as exempt
from the FLSA overtime rules.
Most clerical workers
are "nonexempt," which means they are entitled to overtime pay if
and when they actually work more than 40 hours in a work week.
Sometimes clerical employees
perform job-related activities which are not identified, captured
or compensated by employers. Examples include working through lunch,
staying late to finish a project, running a job-related errand on
the way home, or actually doing work at home. The FLSA requires
employers to count all time actually worked by employees when computing
pay due. Any off the clock work time must be added to all on the
clock work time. If the total time actually worked in a work week
exceeds 40 hours, FLSA overtime pay is due.
Sometimes employers classify
office employees as exempt, who are really nonexempt. This can happen
when an employee holds a fancy job title but really performs clerical
tasks, such as when a secretary is called an "administrative assistant"
or a computer troubleshooter is called a "systems analyst." It can
also happen when an employer pays an employee a salary rather than
an hourly wage. Merely paying an employee on a salary basis does
not make an employee exempt from the FLSA overtime rules. To be
exempt, an employee must not only be paid on a salary basis but
must also perform exempt job duties.
For more on exempt versus
nonexempt employees, refer to the "Coverage"
section of this website.