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Abused salaried employee

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  • Abused salaried employee

    I work for a retailer in Rhode Island as a salary exempt manager. My primary job function is waiting on customers, unloading trucks, cleaning, answering the phone and lots and lots of physical labor. My employer has eliminated most of the hourly non-exempt payroll and told us salary exempt managers will have to work seven days a week, fourteen hours per day or longer to get everything done and I don’t think I can physically work 80 to 90 hours per week doing hard physical labor. My question is if I refuse to work these crazy hours and they fire me will I be eligible for unemployment benefits?

    Also, if I don’t have any accrued sick time and I work 15 hours per day but only work 4 days (for a total of 60 hours) due to an illness my pay is reduced because I only worked 4 days, but if I work 7 days, 90 hours, I am not compensated and this just doesn’t seem right.

  • #2

    There are two issues raised here -

    1) Are you properly classified as exempt? If you are spending the great majority of your time doing manual work, you are non-exempt and you should be eligible for overtime. You can learn more about exemption at the following website:

    2) Reductions in Pay? If you are properly classified as exempt, you are not eligible for overtime and your employer can reduce your wages for full days missed.

    Let me know if you have any other questions.
    Lillian Connell

    Forum Moderator


    • #3
      Unemployment benefits

      My employer tells me that even though my job is mostly physical labor, waiting on customers and ordinary clerical work I am classified as salary exempt because I supervise a few other hourly employees that do the exact same job as me. The only difference is now I have to send everybody else home and work like an animal doing the work of 4 people, and because I’m salary exempt they don’t even have to let me take a lunch break. Every day they say things like “you can’t go home until everything is done” but what they ask is impossible. So we end up working 13 to 14 hours, with no lunch, sometimes working 10 hours without a bathroom break and that’s on a good day. I think working from 6AM to after 12AM everyday without a break is unreasonable and even though I do not have a disability I just can’t continue to do it. My main question is if I refuse to work over 50 hours per week, and no more then 5 days, and they fire me will I still be eligible to collect unemployment benefits?


      • #4

        It could be because you disobeyed the rules. You may want to talk to the state to see if they can tell you.
        Lillian Connell

        Forum Moderator


        • #5
          Sick Pay for Exempt Employees

          I work for a landscape company in the HR Department. I have been reading the Company Manual and the company does not offer Sick Pay for exempt salaried employees only vacation, is that legal? Is vacation and PTO the same? There is 5 exempt salaried employees working in the office some get one week per year, some get 2 weeks per year and others get 3 weeks per year, is the legal?
          Last edited by wrosseau; 10-03-2007, 06:21 AM.


          • #6
            To wrosseau, it's generally a good idea to start your own thread rather than adding on to one that's been dormant for almost three years.

            There is no law that requires employers to offer either sick leave or vaction pay to any class of employees. With regard to exempt employees, the law does state that they can't have their salary reduced for missing sick days if the employer doesn't offer a reasonable amount of them (5).

            I generally take PTO to mean a pool of days that an employee can use either for sick days or vacation days.

            Unless the difference in the number of days allotted to different employees is based on a prohibited factor (i.e., race, gender, etc.), it's not illegal to give different employees different amounts of time off.
            I am not able to respond to private messages. Thanks!


            • #7
              Originally posted by joec
              citizen12 your boss is pulling a fast one contact an attorney.
              Well, citizen12 hasn't been back in nearly three years, so I guess the issue has been resolved.

              wrosseau, such is the problem with adding on to a dead thread. But I would note that, if the employer does not provide a sick pay plan of at least 5 days, the employer then cannot dock the exempt employee's salary for full day absences due to illness or injury. There IS a difference, literally, between vacation and PTO. The employer CAN require that you use vacation time (if there is no sick pay plan) when you are sick, but see below for restrictions if you run out of time.
              I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.


              • #8
                Please do so in future, Joe, as you have just seen how confusion can start.
                The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.


                The forum is intended for informational use only and should not be relied upon and is not a substitute for legal advice. The information contained on are opinions and suggestions of members and is not a representation of the opinions of does not warrant or vouch for the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any postings or the qualifications of any person responding. Please consult a legal expert or seek the services of an attorney in your area for more accuracy on your specific situation.