Wage and hour disputes over the status of certain workers

A Tennessee senior living facility recently experienced legal trouble over how it classified certain types of employees. The people who work for the facility as sales employees were classified as exempt, which means they were not eligible for overtime and other benefits. After wage and hour disputes and an investigation, the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division ruled that these workers are nonexempt.

The senior living facility maintains that it has always tried to adhere to labor laws and follow the rules regarding the classification of its employees. As a result of the this finding, the company had to immediately reclassify certain employees and pay over $10,000 in civil penalties for various other violations. The company says that it did not unfairly deduct wages from employees pay, even though investigators found otherwise.

The company supposedly took time off employees' time cards to account for meal breaks, even when they actually worked through their scheduled break time. This resulted in unpaid overtime on weeks when these individuals worked more than 40 hours. Due to its misclassification of its employees, the employer did not believe it had to pay them for this overtime. With their new classification status, however, the workers are eligible for overtime pay.

Wage and hour disputes can be complex, but workers do not have to fight for their rights alone. If a Tennessee employee believes that he or she has a right to overtime pay or believes that the employer is acting unfairly, the person has the right speak up. It may be possible to hold employers accountable for unfair practices and fight for rightful pay. 

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