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Fair Labor Standards Act

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) generally applies to all workers within the United States, including the District of Columbia and U.S. territories and possessions. There are several exemptions, however, from application of the FLSA regarding overtime, minimum wage and child labor requirements.

The most commonly used exemptions are:

1) Commissioned sales employees (exempt from overtime requirements if more than half of the employee’s earnings come from commissions and the employee earns an average of one and a half times the minimum wage for each hour worked);

2) Computer professionals (certain computer professionals who are paid at least $27.63 per hour are exempt from overtime requirements);

3) Drivers, driver’s helpers, loaders and mechanics (exempt from overtime provisions if employed by a motor carrier, and if the employees' duties affect the safety of the operation of a vehicle in transportation of passengers or property in interstate or foreign commerce);

4) Farm workers (exempt from both overtime and minimum wage provisions if employed on small farms; others exempt from overtime provisions regardless of farm size);

5) Auto salespersons, parts workers and mechanics (exempt from overtime provisions if employed by automobile dealerships);

6) Seasonal and recreational employees (exempt from both overtime and minimum wage provisions if employed by certain seasonal and recreational establishments); and

7) Executive, administrative, professional and outside sales employees (exempt from both overtime and minimum wage provisions if paid on a salary basis).

The burden of proof asserting an exemption lies with the employer, and exemptions are narrowly construed against the employer claiming the exemption. Exemptions are applied on a workweek-by-workweek basis, and employees performing both exempt and nonexempt duties in a workweek are usually not exempt.

Click here, if you are an employee of the federal government, to find out more about how the Office of Personnel Management administers the provisions of the FLSA.

How to file an FLSA claim:

Any nonexempt employee covered by the FLSA who believes that he or she has not been paid the required federal minimum wage or overtime may file a complaint with the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor.

You may file a complaint by mail or in person at any Wage and Hour Division district office.

Be timely: The FLSA contains a two-year statute of limitations (three-years for willful violations). The Labor Department suggests employees file complaints with the Wage and Hour Division as soon as the violation occurs but no later than 18 months after the violation occurred.

Include the proper information in the complaint:

  • Your name, address and telephone number.
  • Your job title and a description of the kind of work done.
  • Your rate, method and frequency of wage payment.
  • Number of hours you actually worked each week.
  • A description of the alleged violation(s).
  • Date(s) of the alleged violation(s).
  • Your employer's name, address, telephone number and nature of business.

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