In a recent post we talked about the debate about whether on-call time constitutes compensable work time under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). FLSA entitles employees in Missouri and across the nation to overtime pay if employers have failed to follow wage and hour laws. Certain workers are exempt from overtime pay including executives who hire and fire employees, administrators who make key decisions, and professionals including lawyers, engineers, and technology workers.
A recent lawsuit was filed against GlaxoSmithKline by former sales representatives who said that they were not paid overtime for work they say did not fall under the overtime exemption status. Sales representatives are usually exempt from overtime because of the difficulty in tracking their hours.
Since the height of the recession in 2008 more U.S. workers have sued employers under federal and state wage-and-hour laws. According to the legal co-director of the National Employment Law Project, "The recession put more pressure on businesses to squeeze workers and cut costs." She says that if employers had to bear the expense of overtime work, it's likely they would hire more workers during the economic recovery.
Some experts believe that the decades-old labor laws need to be reconciled to stay up-to-date with technology. Many workers claim that part of their overtime work is attributed to smartphones and other technology that causes work time to bleed into their personal time.
As the work world continues to evolve, and employers cut costs to meet budgets it will be interesting to see if the laws change. Until then, it's important that employees know their rights in regards to wage and hour laws. If you think you may have a wage and hour dispute, it would be wise to consult with a qualified attorney who can work to obtain compensation you deserve.
Source: USA Today, "More American workers sue employers for overtime pay," Paul Davidson, April 15, 2012