How your employer classifies you as a worker can have a tremendous impact on how you’re paid and the benefits that your receive. If you’re deemed a non-exempt worker, for example, then you should be paid overtime. But how, exactly, are employees classified? Let’s take a closer look.
What are the exemption tests?
The Fair Labor Standards Act provides a number of tests that help employers determine if a worker should be classified as exempt or non-exempt. To start, in order to be considered exempt, an employee must make more than approximately $35,000 per year. In addition, one of a number of criteria must be met. These are known as the exemption tests. Amongst those criteria are:
- Acting as an executive, meaning that the worker manages part of the business and supervises a number of employees, in addition having the authority to hire and fire workers
- Performing administrative duties that are related to the business’s operations and that require the exercise of independent judgment on matters of significance
- Working as a professional with advanced or specialized knowledge
- Working as a salesperson in a way that requires extensive and regular travel away from the employer’s business
- Performing duties associated with computer systems, programming, and engineering
Have you been misclassified?
Remember, employers often try to classify workers as exempt so that they don’t have to pay them overtime. This means that employers will often ensure that a worker meets the income requirement for exempt status, but then stretch the facts to meet the requirements of one of the criteria mentioned above.
If you think that your employer has gone too far in classifying you as exempt, then you may want to discuss your circumstances with an experienced employment law professional. After all, that may be the only way to recover the compensation that you should have been paid all along.