New York and federal labor laws require employers to pay overtime when employees work more than 40 hours in a single workweek. Some employers are exempt from the overtime requirements because they are considered administrators or part of the administrative team. Unfortunately, many New York employers incorrectly categorize employees as administrators to avoid paying them the overtime they deserve.
Have You Been Wrongfully Denied Overtime? We Can Help
Have you been wrongly classified as an administrative employee and denied overtime pay? The attorneys at Lipsky Lowe LLP will review your case and help you understand your rights. If you’ve been wrongly denied overtime, we will pursue the total amount of compensation you deserve. Contact Lipsky Lowe LLP today to schedule your free case evaluation.
FLSA Overtime Pay Exemption for Administrative Employees
The federal Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA, requires employers to pay employees one and a half times their regular rate for any hours they work more than 40 hours per week. The FLSA overtime rule doesn’t apply to every New York employer or employee. The FLSA only covers employees who aren’t independent contractors and provides an exemption for administrative employees. The employee must meet multiple requirements to be considered an administrative employee, such as:
- The employee must be compensated on a salary or fee basis
- The employee must be compensated at a rate of at least $684 per week
- The employee’s primary duty needs to be administrative
The Primary Duty Test
Under the FLSA, an employee’s primary duty must be performing office or non-manual work directly related to the management or general business operations of the employer or the employee’s customers. Additionally, the primary duty must include the exercise of discretion and independent judgment concerning matters of significance.
Employers may argue that their employee’s primary duty is fulfilling administrative tasks. However, to be classified as an administrative employee, the employee’s principal, main, significant, or most important duties at work need to meet the criteria. For example, if an employee spends most of the week following the direction of a manager but gets to make limited decisions regarding others once a week, that employee’s primary duties aren’t administrative. As a result, the employee wouldn’t be exempted from overtime pay. The employer must pay the employee overtime pay.
Damages Available Under the FLSA
If you’ve been wrongly denied overtime pay after your employer classified you as an administrator, you can pursue damages under the FLSA. Employees who sue for overtime wage violations can recover the gap between their actual pay and the required overtime wages. They can also recover attorneys’ fees and costs and an additional 100 percent in liquidated damages.
New York’s Administrative Exemption for Overtime Pay
Like the FLSA, New York state also requires employers to pay non-exempt employees overtime. Administrative employees aren’t entitled to overtime pay. The requirements for an exempt employee include the following:
- The employee’s primary duty consists of the performance of office or non-manual field work directly related to management policies or general operations of the employer
- The employee customarily and regularly exercises discretion and independent judgment
- The employee receives a sufficient weekly salary
Additionally, the employee must regularly and directly assist the employer or an executive employee, or perform, under only general supervision, work along technical or specialized lines that require special training, experience, or knowledge.
Minimum Salary Increases For Overtime-Exempt Executive and Administrative Employees
In addition to meeting the requirements listed above, an employee must meet the income requirements to be considered an administrative employee. As of December 31st, 2021, New York State’s minimum salary levels for overtime-exempt administrative employees increased as follows:
- Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties: $1,050 to $1,125 per week ($58,500 annually);
- The remainder of the state outside of New York City: $937.50 to $990 per week ($51,480 annually).
If your annual salary is below the minimum threshold, you cannot be classified as an administrative employee. As a result, you are entitled to overtime pay when you work more than 40 hours in a single work week.
How Is an Employee’s Salary Determined?
Being paid on salary requires an employee to receive a predetermined amount of compensation each pay period. An employee could be paid on a weekly or less frequent basis. For an employee to be exempt from overtime pay, they must receive the full salary for any week they perform any work, regardless of the number of days they have worked. An employer can’t claim that he or she is paying an employee on a salary basis and continue to pay an employee at an hourly rate.
Misclassifying employees as being on salary is another way employers may try to avoid paying overtime. If you have questions about how much you have been paid or are paid, we recommend discussing your case with an attorney. An employer may attempt to claim that your salary is over the limit but could be miscalculating your pay to avoid paying overtime. An attorney can help you determine whether you are being paid correctly and entitled to overtime pay.
New York Labor Law Claims for Unpaid Overtime
In New York, employees who have been wrongly denied overtime pay because they’ve been classified as an administrator have six years to file a compensation claim. If they succeed in their claim, they can recover all of the overtime wages they should have received. Prevailing employees are also entitled to attorneys fees and costs and liquidated damages in the amount of 100 percent of the total amount of overtime wages found to be due. New York employers must keep payroll records for at least three years. Their payment statements need to include all relevant information to determine whether the employer has been paid enough overtime.
Contact a New York Employment Attorney
There are many different ways in which employers violate federal and state laws to avoid paying employees overtime. If you or someone you love has been wrongly classified as an exempt administrator, you may be entitled to back pay and other types of compensation. Contact the skilled employment lawyers at Lipsky Lowe LLP to schedule your free case evaluation.