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US Department of Labor files lawsuit alleging incorrect classification of employees as salaried workers

In December 2014, a lawsuit was filed by the U.S. Department of Labor alleging that Bharat I. Patel failed to pay 192 workers minimum wage and/or overtime at 13 different hotels. The suit alleges that Patel violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by classifying workers as exempt salaried employees. Some employers incorrectly classify their workers as exempt salaried employees to avoid overtime pay. While many employees are in bona fide executive, administrative, professional and outside sales positions, there are several qualifications that must be met in order for the exemptions to apply. An improper classification allows employees to be paid straight time for all hours worked rather than the required overtime rate of one and one-half times their hourly rate of pay. In this case, an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor found that approximately $200,000 in back wages, along with liquidated damages are owed to the hotel employees. If you are a salaried employee, you should consult with an attorney to see if your job meets the criteria for exemption or whether you may be owed overtime pay.

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