A dozen Jacksonville area residents are suing Dollar General claiming the company owes them unpaid wages. The suits included a total of 791 individuals from all over the U.S. All the Dollar General suits claim that the company has a policy of classifying employees as salaried managers who work an average 60 to 90 hours per week when they perform managerial duties for only about five to 10 hours per week and the remainder of the time they perform non-managerial duties.
There have been several lawsuits in recent years where employees have had to fight a classification made by their employers to make them salary to avoid paying overtime when they were actually hourly employees. Most people in the US work force have the heard the terms “exempt” and “non-exempt,” but what do they mean? The basic law is that employers are required by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to classify their employees as either exempt or non-exempt.
If your job is classified as non-exempt, this means your employment is subject to the rules laid out in the FLSA. The basics are that you are paid hourly and you must be paid overtime pay if you work over 40 hours a week. If your job is exempt you are not subject to the 40 hour work week, minimum wage, and overtime rules. Usually these positions are described as “salaried” instead of as “exempt” and include executive, administrative, professional, and outside sales positions.
Many jobs fall into the grey area in between which is why there have been recent lawsuits against Dollar General and others. There are several factors the courts use to evaluate whether an employee is hourly or salary and it is important to look into your rights if there is any doubt in your mind about whether you should be an hourly employee.