When Howard Johnson’s was found guilty of underpaying their staff by not paying overtime to those who were salaried yet worked more than 40 hours a week, in the early 1980’s, you would have thought that companies would take note.
But Wal-Mart, Inc. is another company who has had to settle a suit with the US Dept of Labor after violating federal and Arkansas minimum wage laws. They now have to repay staff back wages, plus interest. This affects nearly 87,000 workers in Arkansas and throughout the United States and amounts to $33 million.
So how can you make sure you do not fall prey to such companies?
Well, as a general rule of thumb, if you earn less than $445 per week, or $23,000 per year, then you are entitled to overtime payments if you work more than 40 hours a week. This applies even if you are salaried.
The ruling regarding Wal-Mart, was that even though they employed trainee managers, intern and programmers on a salary basis, they were still entitled to overtime pay when they were required to work long hours. Even if their salary exceeded the above amounts, they were entitled to overtime as they did not have significant decision making powers.
Some companies try and get around the federal and Arkansas minimum wage laws by employing so called “managers” but do not give them decision making powers, or a salary that would come with them. The employees that worked for Wal-Mart were stated as being “non-exempt salaried” workers, which meant that they were entitled to overtime pay.
This can apply to any form of work, not just stores. If you are salaried, even if it amounts to over $23,660 per year, yet do not have decision-making powers within the store, department of division, then you may be entitled to overtime compensation if your hours amount to more than 40 per week.