Changing Overtime Exemption Could Cause Big Problems for Management

The United States Department of Labor has announced a proposal to amend the white-collar overtime exemption for executive, administrative, and professional employees to increase the salary threshold necessary to qualify for the exemption. Under the proposed rule, in 2016 the salary necessary to qualify for the exemption at the federal level would be $970 per week, and not less than $50,440 per year. This is in stark contrast with the current annual requirement of $23,660.

Importantly, to qualify for the exemptions, employees must also meet the job duties tests for the executive, administrative, professional (or other limited exceptions) which are also under review, and also potentially subject to changes by the end of the year. In the mean time, we can assume that the salary threshold for meeting the exemption will go up, which could have an extreme impact on some businesses and classes of employees.

Line Managers Suddenly May Require Overtime Payments

In one of the most devastating examples of how the new regulations may impact businesses, we examine the fast food industry. Currently there are shift managers who direct other employees and perform management duties but make low annual salaries. Presently, those employees are not necessarily required to receive overtime under the present salary threshold. However, when the regulations are amended those managers likely now will be required to receive time and a half payment for hours worked in excess of 40 and businesses will have the nightmare of accounting for which hours are spent performing management versus regular work.

Regular Wage and Hour Training Necessary for Upper Management

With the rapid changes in wage and hour regulations comes the need for strategic decisions on how to compensate employees who may now be subject to overtime payments. Thankfully, we are well prepared on the changes and ready to train your upper managers on the nuances of the new regulations, and how they may impact your employees and classes of managers. By scheduling training, your company can avoid the massive pitfalls and penalties brought on by violating the federal (and state) wage and hour laws.

Syntrio’s cost-effective wage and hour training courses are designed with the decision-making management employee in mind. Therefore, the examples used within are real-life scenarios that are easy to comprehend, even when the user does not have a technical background in wage and hour law. Given the immense changes taking place in this area of the law combined with the extreme risk of class-action litigation, we feel that wage and hour training is essential to the modern business.

Syntrio is committed to reducing the number of wage and hour lawsuits filed in state and federal courts by facilitating compliance with state and federal laws and commitment to the utmost ethical standards in wage payment. Contact Syntrio for more information and remember to follow us on TwitterGoogle Plus and LinkedIn for daily updates on employment law and compliance issues that may impact your business!


The “Three Strikes” of Illegal Employer Action

Now that two full months have passed in calendar 2015 it is a good time to take a quick look at the most common forms of misconduct committed by employers. Indeed, employers are commonly making mistakes and violating laws in today’s workplace, and the only way to reduce these incidents is to keep the issues in the forefront. When managers can identify a problem before it gets out of hand, proper training and education can have he or she prepared with a solution.

Employers are Understanding that Litigation is a Sunk Cost

Fewer employees fear the perceived team of expensive defense attorneys and threats of retaliation if they complain about employer misconduct than in years past. As such, more employees are carrying out their threats of filing a lawsuit against their current or former employers. With that knowledge in mind, employers are beginning to see that fighting the problem on the back end using high priced attorneys is not the way to run a business. Instead, the common management pitfalls are ripe for training to proactively combat the problem, and many business owners are taking an offensive approach to employment law and human resources issues.

1. Discrimination

Discrimination claims are by far the most common form of employee lawsuit. Discrimination is when someone is treated less favorably (or more favorably in some cases) because of his or her membership in a protected class (i.e. race, sex, religion, etc.) There are longstanding federal and state laws prohibiting discrimination in the workplace, yet it persists as the most common form of employee charge today. Although employers are doing their best to eliminate bias in the workplace, certain prejudices persist among rogue managers, and therefore discrimination is a problem that is not going away.

2. Retaliation

Retaliation is a form of discrimination that occurs in conjunction with a discharge or other adverse employment action such as a demotion, pay decrease, lack of promotion or other disciplinary action and occurs as the result of an employee complaint or refusing to commit what he or she believes to be an illegal act (among other things). By learning how to properly handle employee complaints and requests to exercise statutory rights there is a great reduction in the risk that a retaliation claim will even be brought by a disgruntled employee.

3. Wage and Hour Violations

Unless your company employees all overtime exempt employees you are obligated under federal law to pay added compensation for employee hours worked in excess of forty in one week (there are also states that impose even stricter requirements on employers such as California). As you are also undoubtedly aware, the federal law requires payment of a minimum wage of at least $7.25 per hour (or higher in many states).

There are a significant number of traps that employers fall into with respect to the wage and hour laws, and managers are wise to learn the intricacies of federal and state wage and hour laws. Your employees certainly are brushing up on their internet research!

Syntrio is Available to Discuss Cost-Effective Training

The aforementioned topics merely scratch the surface of the three most common types of employee lawsuits. All companies can benefit from taking a proactive approach toward employment law issues, which is why Syntrio offers a robust LMS containing products that meet nearly every compliance need that can arise within a company or particular industry. Further, if something you need is currently unavailable, our team of experts will develop a course custom-tailored to suit your needs.

Contact Syntrio for more information and remember to follow us on TwitterGoogle Plus and LinkedIn for daily updates on employment law and compliance issues that may impact your business!