Greenville’s Lawyer for Overtime & Minimum Wage Claims
South Carolina does not have a minimum wage or overtime law, so South Carolina employees must look to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for their legal rights to minimum wage or overtime pay. A South Carolina Unpaid Overtime Lawyer may come in handy right about now. The FLSA governs both the payment of minimum wage and the payment of overtime pay.
The FLSA provides the general rule that employees must be paid a minimum wage of at least $7.25 an hour. A company can certainly pay more than that amount, but the FLSA essentially provides the floor or minimum amount that the employee must be paid per hour of work. Failure to pay at least that amount is a violation of the FLSA.
Employees in “tipped” jobs, such as waiters or waitresses in restaurants, are often paid a little differently. The company can pay these tipped employees $2.13 an hour, so long as the remaining amount of the $7.25 an hour is paid for by the tips that the employee receives. If the employee does not receive at least a total of $7.25 per hour (when combining the hourly wage and the tips), then the company must make up the difference. A failure to pay the employee at least $7.25 an hour total is also a violation of the FLSA.
The FLSA also provides that if an employee works more than 40 hours in a workweek, then that employee must be paid overtime of 1.5x the hourly rate (time and a half). However, some employees are exempted from overtime pay (in other words, they wouldn’t get overtime pay).
These exemptions are for employees who are paid a salary of at least $684 per week AND whose duties meet the requirements of the various exemptions. The most common exemptions are the “white collar” exemptions, meaning generally the Executive and Administrative exemptions (although the FLSA has a host of other exemptions as well). Each of these exemptions have their own little quirks.
The executive exemption applies if the employee regularly supervises two or more employees and who is responsible for or involved in the hiring and firing of employees. Just calling an employee a “manager” and paying a salary does not automatically mean that the employee does not get overtime pay. The employee must truly be involved in supervising multiple employees and have real power or influence in the hiring and firing process. Anything less means that the employee has been misclassified and should be getting overtime pay.
The administrative exemption requires that the employee be engaged in office or non-manual labor AND the employee’s primary duty must include the exercise of discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance. Again, if the employee’s duties don’t meet these strict requirements, then the employee must be paid overtime.
The FLSA also protects employees from retaliation, which means that an employer cannot fire you for complaining about unpaid overtime or minimum wage violations.
How can you hold the employer to account for failing to pay overtime or minimum wage?
So how does this impact you, the employee? Well, frankly, many employees are not aware of their rights under the FLSA, and companies frequently take advantage of their employee’s lack of knowledge in order to pay less what the employees are legally owed. But if you’ve been improperly classified as exempt and you work more than 40 hours per week, then you have a legal claim against your employer for the amount of unpaid overtime. This amount can be doubled by the court, so if you are owed $10,000, then the court can make the employer pay you $20,000. The financial impact on an employee can be significant.
More importantly, failure to pay properly owed overtime pay is against the law. If you are concerned that you may be improperly classified as exempt from overtime, contact our South Carolina Unpaid Overtime lawyers to discuss the facts of your case in more detail.
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