On the Job: Major Staffing Company Sued for Failing to Pay its Workers Overtime

This column is written and sponsored by Alan Lescht and Associates, PC, an employment litigation firm in Washington, DC, that handles cases involving contract disputes, wage and hour issues, discrimination and retaliation, wrongful termination, whistleblower retaliation and security clearances.

If you work for a staffing company, you may be entitled to overtime pay.

A federal court recently ordered a major staffing company, Randstad, to pay employees overtime. Four former employees sued for unpaid overtime. The employees’ job duties included marketing and selling Randstad’s services, recruiting and placing workers, overseeing placements and performing administrative and clerical tasks. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered Randstad to pay these employees, as well as any others who performed the same job duties, overtime pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 per workweek.

Am I entitled to overtime?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law that requires employers to pay certain employees overtime pay, which means employees must be paid at a rate of 1.5 times their regular hourly rate for any hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week. For example, say you make $10 per hour and worked 50 hours this week. Your employer must pay you $10 per hour for the first 40 hours, and $15 per hour for the remaining 10 hours.

However, certain employees, including some executives, administrative and professional employees, do not get overtime. These employees are considered “exempt.”

Whether an employee is exempt depends on several factors, including primary job duties. What matters is the employee’s actual day-to-day activities, rather than his/her title or position description. For example, in the Randstad case, the employees performed a mix of exempt and non-exempt job duties. However, the court decided that the employees were entitled to overtime because they spent the majority of their time on non-exempt tasks.

Other factors also determine whether you are exempt under the FLSA. These may include whether you are paid a salary or an hourly wage, and how much you earn.

Am I an exempt administrative employee?

Administrative employees are exempt if: (1) their primary duty is performing office or non-manual work that is directly related to management or general business operations; and (2) they exercise discretion and independent judgment about important matters.

Am I an exempt executive employee?

Executive employees are exempt if: (1) their primary duty is managing a business or a subdivision of a business; (2) they regularly direct the work of at least two other full-time workers; and (3) they have authority or influence over hiring, firing, and promotion decisions.

Am I an exempt professional employee?

Professional employees are exempt if their primary duty is performing work that requires advanced knowledge in a field of science or learning, which was acquired by a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction. For example, lawyers are exempt professionals.

What if I wasn’t told to work overtime but did anyway?

You may be entitled to overtime in certain circumstances. For example, your employer may owe you overtime if he or she (1) knew or should have known you worked overtime, and (2) benefited from the work you performed.

Do you need legal help?

If you think your employer owes you overtime pay, contact Alan Lescht and Associates today to set up a consultation.

Call us today at (202) 463-6036, send us an email, or visit our website and blog. Our 13 attorneys have vast experience in all areas of employment law. Super Lawyers, Washingtonian, Newsweek, AVVO, and others have recognized us as a leading employment firm in DC.

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