Wage and Hour Laws
Rest breaks and meal breaks
If you are not receiving your 10 minute breaks, or are not given a 30 minute lunch we may be able to help you.
Most hourly workers are entitled to a paid 10 minute rest period for every 4 hours of work. Most workers are also entitled to a 30 minute unpaid meal break if they work more than 5 hours in a day.
If you are not receiving your breaks, your employeer may owe you payment for the breaks they denied you. Call us, we may be able to help you recover what you are owed.
If you are receiving your 30 minute break, but are required to stay onsite, your employeer may be requred to pay you for these breaks. If you have not been paid for these breaks, call us. We may be able to help you recover these unpaid wages.
The attorneys at Allen & Mead advise employees about whether a job is properly designated as exempt (salaried) or non-exempt (hourly) under the current wage and hour laws. Non-exempt (hourly) employees are entitled to time and a half pay for working more than 40 hours a week.
There have been changes in this area of empoyment law in recent years, and many employers now incorrectly classify employees. A lawyer can help you determine if the classification is correct. There is usually no problem with an employer paying someone hourly when the employee could be salaried. If the employer, however, has been paying an employee as a salaried worker who is not entitled to an exemption, the employee may be owed for overtime and rest and meal breaks.
If you have questions about an employee classification under the wage and hour laws or wages owed upon termination, the lawyers at Allen & Mead can help.
Allowing non-exempt (hourly) workers to take paid time off in the future to compensate for overtime work in the past is generally not allowed under Federal Law. Under Washington law, this is legal if the employee is allowed to take 1.5 hours off for every hour of overtime worked. If you are working under a "comp time" arrangement, contact us at Allen & Mead to discuss if you are entitled to be paid overtime or for rest and meal breaks.
Supervisors or managers
Contrary to what some employers think, many supervisors and managers are not exempt and should be paid hourly. If you are a supervisor or manager and not entitled to an exemption, your employer may owe you for overtime and rest and meal breaks. To determine whether a manager is exempt, the courts look at factors like whether the employee has the ability to hire and fire and set wages. If not, they may be entitled to be paid hourly and receive overtime and rest and meal breaks.
Many employers improperly classify administrative workers as “exempt” and don’t pay overtime or provide rest and meal breaks. Federal regulations require that to be exempt from overtime the administrative worker must “exercise discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance”. It is common for a employer to say that an employee's work is important, but the Federal Regulations contemplate that to be exempt, this employee is in a position to make policy for the company. Another example is the employee has the authority to undertake strategic planning for the company or resolve disputes involving the company.
Allen & Mead can help you recover unpaid overtime and other compensation to which you may be entitled if you have been mis-classified as an "exempt" (salaried) employee.
29 CFR § 541.102 Management.
Generally, “management” includes, but is not limited to, activities such as interviewing, selecting, and training of employees; setting and adjusting their rates of pay and hours of work; directing the work of employees; maintaining production or sales records for use in supervision or control; appraising employees' productivity and efficiency for the purpose of recommending promotions or other changes in status; handling employee complaints and grievances; disciplining employees; planning the work; determining the techniques to be used; apportioning the work among the employees; determining the type of materials, supplies, machinery, equipment or tools to be used or merchandise to be bought, stocked and sold; controlling the flow and distribution of materials or merchandise and supplies; providing for the safety and security of the employees or the property; planning and controlling the budget; and monitoring or implementing legal compliance measures.
29 CFR § 541.202 (b) Discretion and independent judgment.
(b) The phrase “discretion and independent judgment” must be applied in the light of all the facts involved in the particular employment situation in which the question arises. Factors to consider when determining whether an employee exercises discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance include, but are not limited to: whether the employee has authority to formulate, affect, interpret, or implement management policies or operating practices; whether the employee carries out major assignments in conducting the operations of the business; whether the employee performs work that affects business operations to a substantial degree, even if the employee's assignments are related to operation of a particular segment of the business; whether the employee has authority to commit the employer in matters that have significant financial impact; whether the employee has authority to waive or deviate from established policies and procedures without prior approval; whether the employee has authority to negotiate and bind the company on significant matters; whether the employee provides consultation or expert advice to management; whether the employee is involved in planning long- or short-term business objectives; whether the employee investigates and resolves matters of significance on behalf of management; and whether the employee represents the company in handling complaints, arbitrating disputes or resolving grievances.