Is it legal to have a 80 hour work week on salary?

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Is it legal to have a 80 hour work week on salary?

I work at a hotel in New Mexico and was originally paid an hourly wage, but was then switched over to a salaried position. I know now that the only reason I was made a salaried employee was for my employer to avoid paying overtime wages. I have no days off and regularly get 80 hours a week. Factoring in my hours that I have worked I now make less than minimum wage. When I ask to either be paid as an hourly worker or work a reasonable amount of hours with days off, I’m told that I can just quit if I don’t like it and I’m lucky to even have a job. My boss is also verbally abusive most of the time. There aren’t very many jobs in this town so I’m wondering do I have any legal recourse? If there isn’t any law against these things then am I able to get unemployment benefits even if I quit instead of get fired? I need to be able to pay my bills but I can’t handle the long hours with little pay and also the stressful work environment.

Asked on March 25, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, New Mexico

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Salaried workers making below $455 per week (equivalent to $23,660 per year) qualify for the same automatic protections as hourly paid workers; that is they are eligible for OT pay. Further, salaried workers making $455 a week or more only have the right to earn overtime pay if their duties are determined to be "non-exempt" duties. If you duties have not changed and are not of a supervisory role, then you may still actually be a "non-exempt" employee and therefore entitled to be paid for all hours worked, as well as OT regarding any hours worked over 40 in your work week. This is because "non-exempt" workers are entitled to overtime pay since they are not exempted from federal/state OT laws. On the other hand, "exempt" workers are not subject to OT laws. However, you must be proprely categorized as an "exempt" versus a "non-exempt" worker, and how you are paid (i.e. hourly or salary) is only 1 factor. Here is a link to a site that will give you better idea as to what your appropriate status should be: https://www.dol.gov/whd/overtime/fs17c_administrative.pdf hfttp://www.ferris.edu/HTMLS/administration/adminandfinance/human/forms/Employment/AuditTestYourCompliance.pdf


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