Five Common Overtime Violations HR Professionals Can Spot

Every business should have a Human Resource office, with one or more qualified personnel. The job of human resource officers is to ensure that all employee paperwork, information, and job status are correct. This verification process can take up to several weeks to verify, and in some cases, the process time is even less.

Individuals working in human resource must have general or extensive knowledge in labor and employment law. They must be aware of how these laws affect the company and its employees. Failure to properly document a worker’s job title can lead to pay discrepancies, improper tax exemptions, and penalties from the federal government.

Human resource officers are in a good position to catch and correct such costly errors. They are the front line of the business, and they are responsible for ensuring that employees are paid according to their agreement, or company policy. However, human resource officers can spot common overtime problems before legal actions are implemented. They are in a proposition to save the company millions of dollars in fines and legal fees.

Lookout For These Five Overtime Violations

Here are some common overtime violations, human resource personnel can spot right away:

Not Paying Salaried Or Field Workers Overtime

Work is work, regardless of the job title and duty. Because most field workers are constantly in the field and not in the office, they are paid a straight salary and not an hourly wage. Salaried employees can easily be taken advantage of since they do not have to clock in or clock out. Field workers are entitled to overtime pay if they exceed the maximum number of work hours per week. According to employers should keep their end of the bargain when it comes to both salaried and field workers.

Classifying Workers As Independent Contractors

Under the FLSA or Fair Labor Standards Act, independent contractors are not entitled to receive overtime pay. Only individuals who work for themselves can be called independent contractors. Human resource personnel can spot a company employee from a subcontractor, or contractor. If an individual works directly for the company and receives payroll checks from the organization, then that individual is a paid employee and not an independent contractor. Companies do not take state and federal taxes for independent workers.

Looking At Assistant Managers As Being Salaried Employees

Although most workers carry the title, they are not actually assistant managers. Assistant managers must meet three requirements or tests in order to be classified as an exempt employee. This is a classic setup of how employers and human resource personnel can easily misinterpret a worker’s duties, and assignments. Assistant managers who are salaried and do not meet the qualifications for “executive exemption” are entitled to overtime pay.

Reclassifying Employees From Exempt to Nonexempt

It is illegal to move employees from one classification to another without proper cause, such as a promotion or demotion. This is a tricky situation that can backfire, and cause employers thousands of dollars in back pay, or “liquidated damages.” Reclassification comes through the HR department before human resource personnel can control how employees are classified, and correct the error in their system.

Working Employees Off The Clock

Asking employees to work off the clock after working a forty hour week is unethical and unorthodox. Employers who operate in this type of environment are taking advantage of their employees. If an employee is injured while performing at work, the company is not obligated to pay unemployment. Why? Because the employee was not on the clock, and therefore, the employee cannot write an incident report, or have the company vouch for the injuries. It is easy for the employer to say that the employee was not authorized to work.

Spot Them And Correct Them

These are all common pitfalls employee’s fall into, that human resource personnel can correct. The Fair Labor Standards Act cannot be changed to accommodate the illegal aspects of violating workers’ rights. The human resource department is responsible for the operation of the business, and for regulating company policies and procedures. The department is responsible for employee handbooks, for hiring and firing, compliance audits, unemployment compensation, substance and drug testing, private and public contracts, wage laws and affirmative action programs. Therefore, human resource personnel can easily and quickly put an end to overtime violations by paying more attention to employee records.

Author: Tim Becker

Tim Becker is a partner at Minneapolis’ Johnson // Becker PLLC and is the lead sponsor of He has over 20 years of trial experience and has proven himself to be a tireless advocate for worker rights. Becker is committed to providing his clients effective and aggressive legal representation.

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