If my employer paid me a salary of $32,000 a year last year, does he either owe me for overtime or the wages up to $47,000 per year?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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If my employer paid me a salary of $32,000 a year last year, does he either owe me for overtime or the wages up to $47,000 per year?

My employer labeled me proffesional, salaried at $32,000 and then fired me after I worked almost 50 hours a week for a year. He also implied bonus and told me I was to consider my over time hours an investment to the company. For which he felt his obligation to give any compenstion or return on my

Asked on February 6, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If you were salaried and the duties/definition of your job (your duties, your responsibilities, the nature of your job, etc.) met one of the "exemptions" from overtime--such as the professional exemption--which you can find on the U.S. Dept. of Labor website under "overtime," then he does not owe you anything else. As an exempt salaried employee, you salary is your only compensation for all work you do, no matter how many hours per week; and an employer does not need to give you any bonus or other "return" (beyond your salary) unless you had a written employment contract guarantying you that additional compensation.
Note that if you job does not meet one of the exemptions from overtime, then even though you were salaried, your employer still owed you extera pay when you worked more than 40 hours per week. That extra amount is equal to 50% of your "effective" or "equivalent" hourly rate. If you earned $32,000/year, you earned $615 per week, which (based on the 40 hour workweek) is equivalent to a bit over $15.00 per hour. So if you were not exempt from overtime (did not meet an exemption), then for every hour worked in a week past 40 hours, you should have gotten an extra $7.50. 
If you believe you were not exempt from overtime, contact the department of labor (starte or federal) about filing a complaint.

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