Hello. I have been an exempt employee at a privately owned mental health facility since October 2015. I was given a letter on 7/17/18 stating that as of 7/16/18 I was no longer an exempt employee but an hourly employee. My working hours have always been (roughly) 9:30 am to 4:30 pm without clocking out for lunch. To earn the same gross I would have to come in at 8:00 am and clock out for a 30-minute lunch.
Should I sign the letter acknowledging receipt thereof? Should I continue my normal work schedule and wait to be reprimanded?
A change can be made by your employer without violating wage laws if you cannot objectively qualify as an exempt employee.
Whether you are being properly characterized as exempt will depend on the money you are getting and the specific duties of your job. There are three categories of exempt employees and a few tailored additional exceptions. The three are Administrative, Executive, and Professional. The determining factor is that you must be paid at least double the present minimum wage in salary for your employer to characterize you as exempt. Therefore, if you are not making at least $18 per hour in salary, calculated on a 40 hour work week, then it is not legal to characterize you as exempt anyway.
DISCLAIMER: Please be advised that this communication does not establish an attorney-client relationship. The information provided by WFB Legal Consulting is disseminated for educational purposes only, and is not to be construed as legal advice. Do not take any action, postpone any action, or decline to take any proposed action based on this information without first engaging the representation of a licensed attorney at law in your State of residence.
Your employer has every right to change you from an exempt employee to an hourly employee, and to set your working hours. I think you are concentrating on the wrong issue. The issue is whether you were improperly classified as an exempt employee for the last three years. If you were, then you are entitled to damages for missed meal and rest breaks, improper itemized wage statements and, if you worked overtime, overtime pay. You should consult with an attorney as to the propriety of your original classification as an exempt employee. Many of us provide a free initial consultation.
Mr. Early is correct. If your job duties aren't changing but you are suddenly classified as non-exempt, that could indicate that you were misclassified as a salaried employee for the past three years, and that you should have been receiving overtime, meal periods, rest periods, and itemized wage statements. Contacting an employment attorney is probably in your best interest here.
While I am an attorney with over fifteen years of experience, until we sign a retainer agreement, I am not YOUR attorney. My postings are meant for informational purposes only, and DO NOT constitute legal advice, nor do they create an attorney-client relationship between us. As such, the question, my answer, and any comments left to my answer, are not protected by attorney-client privilege. Also, keep in mind that all legal claims have relevant statute of limitations, some of which can be very short. So, if you believe you need to hire an attorney, and need legal advice, seek out legal representation as soon as possible.
Years licensed, work experience, educationLegal community recognition
Peer endorsements, associations, awardsLegal thought leadership
Publications, speaking engagementsDiscipline