Fair Warning: 10 Common Mistakes to Avoid under the Fair Labor Standards Act
Most healthcare employers have probably heard of the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") and most probably think it is pretty simple. Doesn't that law just deal with prohibiting child labor and paying overtime wages to hourly employees? Plaintiffs' attorneys across the country know of the nuanced ways to bring suit under the FLSA, and in the last few years, FLSA cases have skyrocketed. In particular, overtime collective actions that can involve hundreds or thousands of employees are being filed frequently. These collective actions are attractive to plaintiffs' attorneys because most employees are eligible, the cases can be difficult to get dismissed before trial, and employers have been slow to address some of the issues that are the subject of these lawsuits. To help ensure that your healthcare organization complies with the FLSA, here are ten common mistakes to avoid:
1) IMPROPERLY CLASSIFYING EMPLOYEES AS EXEMPT
Many employers believe that if an employee is salaried, then he or she need not be paid overtime. Executive, administrative, and professional employees (among others) can all theoretically be exempt from the FLSA, but salary is only one element to those exemptions. For the professional employee exemption, for instance, the FLSA generally requires: 1) knowledge of an advanced type, 2) in a field of science or learning, 3) customarily acquired by a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction. To be certain an employee is exempt from overtime pay, a careful study of facts regarding the employee's job position and the legal requirements should be conducted.
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