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No matter how many employees an employer has, they must pay employees minimum wages or overtime as required by law. The minimum wage is currently $7.25 and must be paid for all hours worked under 40 hours in a given week. Unless the employee qualifies for a specific “exemption,” an employee must also be paid overtime wages which is time and a half for all hours worked over 40 per week.
There is a common misconception that workers who are classified or considered as “salaried” rather than “hourly” are not entitled to overtime pay. However, this is not always the case. The nature of your job duties determines whether or not you are entitled to overtime pay, not your status as a salaried or hourly employee.
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Sometimes employers misclassify their employees inadvertently (or even deliberately) in order to avoid paying taxes, minimum wages, and overtime. Independent contractors are defined by the nature of their work, not by the classifications they have received from their “employers”.
Fair Labor Standards Act
There are several federal laws that govern overtime, including the Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA. As well as overtime, the FLSA establishes a minimum wage, regulates minor employment, and prohibits the transport of goods that are produced by illegal labor practices in interstate commerce. Employees may also bring private court actions to protect their rights under the FLSA, which is administered and enforced by the Department of Labor Wage & Hour Division.
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Below is a list of the most common wage and hour questions along with answers asked by employees.
1: When am I entitled to earn overtime?
An employer must pay overtime wages (time and a half) to all employees for all hours worked over 40 hours per week unless a specific “exemption” applies to the employee. Overtime pay may be available under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, but Tennessee does not have overtime laws. Get in touch with one of our Knoxville, TN wage and hour attorneys to learn more about your rights as an employee in Tennessee.
2: Is the minimum wage different in Tennessee for tipped employees?
Employees in Tennessee who earn tips are covered by the FLSA’s minimum wage and tip credit rules since Tennessee does not have a minimum wage law.
3: Am I entitled to a lunch or a rest break?
In fact, yes. Unless the work is such that breaks can be taken regularly throughout the day, Tennessee law requires employees who are scheduled to work six or more consecutive hours to be able to take a 1/2 hour meal break, unpaid.
4: Can underage workers be paid less than the minimum wage?
As long as their work does not displace other workers, underage workers under the age of 20 should be paid a minimum wage of $4.25 per hour for the first 90 days of their employment. Effective July 24, 2009, any employee who has worked 90 consecutive calendar days or who is the age of 20 or older must be paid a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
5: Should I consult with a Tennessee employment lawyer?
As with any legal matter you should reach out to an experienced attorney for advice. Should you feel that your employer is classifying you as an independent contractor, or has misclassified you as salaried and you’re not being paid overtime, or if you believe you are owed unpaid minimum wages. The skilled Knoxville employment attorneys At The Burkhalter Law firm are here to help, contact us for more information about your legal rights as an employee in Tennessee.
IN NEED OF LEGAL REPRESENTATION from a skilled Knoxville wage and hour Lawyer?
The Burkhalter Law Firm Tennessee labor law attorneys have over 48 years of experience in successfully representing victims of personal injury and their family members. We know the steps to take to protect your rights. Please consider allowing us to evaluate your case today. We only get paid if you recover.