Overtime Cases on the Rise in Tennessee

The number of overtime cases my office has received has greatly increased over the past year. I am not sure why but I can only assume it is a product of the slow economy. Whatever the reason it is important for workers to remember that they are entitled to at least one and one-half their regular pay rate after 40 hours of work in a workweek. Of course, most employees know this so to get around the law we see employers avoid overtime pay by creative means. We have seen employers make workers clock out early or not clock in until a certain time, clock out for meetings and other work events, but most common is to classify an employee as a supervisor and pay them a salary.

When an employee is an actual supervisor or manager they can be paid a salary and do not receive overtime pay. However, to be a manager the person must really have supervisor duties. In other words, the work duties will include decision making duties such as setting schedules, telling other employees their job duties, hiring, firing, etc. A manager generally does not expect to routinely perform the same Jobs that the workers they supposedly manage do. If a person has been classified as a manager but is really just doing the same job as every other hourly worker they may be entitled to unpaid overtime pay.

As an example, recently we had a Tennessee case involving a fast food restaurant. Almost every employee in the manager was given the title of assistant manager. There were more “managers” than hourly workers. There was even one young man who did nothing but fry cook duties but he was also called “assistant manager”. This was an obvious attempt by the employer to increase their profits by cutting there labor costs. However, it was illegal and the workers were being exploited.

The wage and hour laws can be complicated. Often people just want to know if they have a claim or not before confronting the situation. If you just are not sure please feel free to contact our law firm.

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