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  • Labor Laws ??

    Hi~

    I work for a Dental Office in Michigan. I am an Dental Assistant and work 4 days a week, get paid twice a month. There are many weeks when I work more than 40 hrs in a each work week but my boss says he is NOT going to pay overtime and doesn't have to. I am wondering if this is true. Is he entitled to not pay any overtime or should he be bound by labor laws to pay overtime? Also, it's not an option we have to work until he "says" we can leave.

    I would really appreciate any help or guidance with my question.
    Thank you!

  • #2
    Two different unrelated issues. Making you work whatever hours you are told is almost certainly legal. The only real question is the non-payment of overtime. Paid overtime is mostly a function of a federal law called FLSA. There are a bunch of legal exceptions to paying overtime, but the likely one that is trying to be applied to you is the Professional exception. A dentist per se is likely Exempt because he/she is required to have specific degrees and be certified by the state. I have no idea how the government views Dental Assistants, but you could contact DOL and ask them. Basically if you must have specific degrees and certificiation, then maybe you are Exempt. If this is not required, then maybe non-exempt. But the only opinion that actually matters is the governments.

    The other possibility is maybe the Administrative exception.
    http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/complian...a_overview.pdf
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
    Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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    • #3
      Below is a link to a guide by the DOL which can help determine if you are exempt (no OT) or non-exempt. The DOL suggests starting with the Professional classification (learned category). Yours can go either way and is impossible to dertermine from just the title.

      http://www.dol.gov/elaws/esa/flsa/overtime/menu.htm#p
      I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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      • #4
        Dental assistants are not required to have formal training. There is formal training out there but it's short and the entrance requirement is successful passing of Grade 10. I'm having a hard time seeing this job as being exempt.

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        • #5
          It depends on the job and duties. Dental Hygenists who spend 4 years in school and have professional certifications absolutely can qualify as exempt. Someone who performs basic office skills and is not required to have any special training or education would not. The title alone does not indicate which end of the spectrum applies here. "Dental Assistant" could mean anything from a junior Dentist in the practice to the office receptionist in a dental office. Could even be the Office Manager which could fall under different exemptions entirely.
          I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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          • #6
            Agreed. Also, the chances that this is the very first time this issue has come up is slim and none. Likely federal and state DOL has some file on the subject with prior administrative and court decisions. Likely their next decision on this issue will look a lot like the prior decisions.
            "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
            Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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            • #7
              Not to put too fine a point on it, but just because someone has a higher degree of education with regard to a particular job doesn't mean that that job meets the FLSA requirements for exempt. Title isn't relevant at all, and education as a stand-alone isn't the deciding factor. This person may be a "learned professional"
              whose job requires the advanced knowledge and use of discretion and judgment, or ... it may not.

              I'd discuss with the local federal DOL wage-hour division office.

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