In 1983, the federal government put specific laws in place to protect employees from labor exploitation.
Over the years, the Fair Labor Standards Act underwent certain amendments and changes, but the purpose remains the same.
What does the FLSA do?
The FLSA sets the legal minimum wage employers can pay and ensures employee wages remain unaffected by discrimination. It also regulates overtime wages and strictly exempts certain positions from minimum wage eligibility, meaning employers do not have to pay employees in those positions the minimum wage or overtime.
Who is exempt under FLSA?
Examples of types of exempt fields include:
- Executive positions
- Certain administrative positions
- Certain computer-related positions
- Outside sales positions
- Learned and certain creative professional positions
The non-exempt employees generally fall under the more labor-intensive types of work. For example, carpenters, construction workers, electricians, plumbers and mechanics are non-exempt. The same is true for law enforcement and other first responders.
What are some common violations?
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for employers to violate wage and labor laws, sometimes intentionally and sometimes out of ignorance. Some examples of violations include:
- Having employees work off the clock
- Not providing time for breaks
- Failing to compensate employees for on-call time
- Misclassifying employees as exempt from overtime pay
- Combining hours from different weeks to avoid paying overtime
- Trying to get employees to sign a waiver relieving the employer of their obligation to pay overtime
If you believe your employer violates your rights under the FLSA, you have the right to report them to the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor. You may also have the right to file a lawsuit against them.