Confusion about overtime pay...

I recently accepted a job position with the title of assistant manager for a local chain of speciality retail shops. I was told that I would recieve a salary of XX, XXX per year, but that also anything over 40 hours would be paid at "halftime" and not "time and a half" so say I work 45 hours, I get my salary for the forty, but then I get paid half of my pay (if it was broken down to an hourly rate) for the additional five. And that number then falls below the current minimum wage. So this week I am scheduled 56 hours, 16 of I will make less then minimum wage, is this legal in this state?
Also when I was hired and accepted the position no one ever mentioned that being full time could mean a 56 or more hour per week schedule, is it legal for them to make me work so many hours though it was never discussed prior to accepting the position?

1 answer  |  asked Nov 30, 2005 12:10 AM [EST]  |  applies to Illinois

Answers (1)

Anthony Cameron
In more than 32 years of doing this....

...I've never seen this one!

Setting the pay issue aside for a minute, the mandatory overtime is probably lawful, so long as you are off one day out of every seven. You don't state what your specific industry is. There are certain regulated industries where that much mandatory OT would not be lawful.

The goofy negative incentive to work overtime would not be lawful if you are properly a non-exempt worker. Just because somebody slaps a title on you doesn't mean you are automatically exempt. Exemption as management turns on your actual duties, the existence of written job description, how much discretion you exercise and the custom and practice in your industry.

Frankly, unless you got something like a 20% raise with your "promotion", this pay scheme doesn't pass an initial smell test. You basically have four choices:

1. Quietly find another job;

2. Continue in this one and accept this curious scheme;

3. Take as much detailed data as you can assemble about your job and your industry to a skilled employment lawyer in the Chicago area (preferably a MEL panelist);

4. Take the exemption issue and OT issue to the Illinois Department of Labor;

I like number three because you can do it without the employer knowing you are checking on their behavior. After an attorney sees the whole picture, he or she can advise from there. You have control over how far you want to take this. If IDOL gets it, they decide how far to take it.

Our office is 300 miles from you, so we are probably not a viable option.

Good Luck!

Anthony B. Cameron

posted by Anthony Cameron  |  Nov 30, 2005 10:05 AM [EST]

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