If I was paid as anexempt salaried employee, canI request payment for overtime worked during that period?

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If I was paid as anexempt salaried employee, canI request payment for overtime worked during that period?

I have been employed at the same business for 23 years. For 20 of those years I was wrongly paid as an exempt salaried employee;I should have been an hourly employee (which they just admitted and changed me to). Can I request payment for all the overtime I put in during that time? They have admitted wrong doing and have lost a similar lawsuit on this matter. Our HR person advised the owners on numerous occasions not to make an employee exempt salaried but was ignored. Do I have a case. I think I deserve the money for the time worked.

Asked on January 18, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Montana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you were misclassified, you are entitled, as a general matter, to the overtime you should have been paid. What will limit your ability to pursue all of the back overtime are:

1) The statute of limitations--you can only recover back for a few years (I believe it is 2 years, but it might be longer), certainly not for all 20.

2)  Your ability to prove the hours you worked after all this time--since you are suing, the onus is on you to provide evidence and prove the time you worked.

That said, from what you write, you should be able to recover some back overtime--the question is just how much. You should consult with an employment law attorney to  discuss your case and, if appropriate, initiate it. Good luck.


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