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Over Time Washington State

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  • Over Time Washington State

    For the last 7 months I had been working as a salary paid employee. I worked numerous hours per week. I was a "Manager Trainee". When I was originally hired I was told that I would learn all the departments within the company and that I would be shadowing my supervisor. I would then take the Front Office Manager position and then look at possibly moving up into to fill his position. Everything that was discussed and agreed upon me accepting the position never came to fruition from the date of hire to the date of my termination. I never took the title of Front Office Manager although he did tell me that I just needed to let him know when I wanted to accept the position (although he never took it serious enough to sit down with me to fully discuss the matter). I worked the front desk at all times as I was scheduled. I also brought this to his attention as being a problem. I was working as a Front Desk Agent not a Front Desk Manager nor even a Manager Trainee. I was recently terminated. The reason that was given to me for my termination was that I called out for one of my shifts. I gave them more then 8 hours notice and it was a family emergency. But the problem was that I did not call him directly and the other reason was because when I was called on one of my days off to come into work to help out I was not able to be reached. He said I needed to be able to be reached at all times. I do not have a company phone only my own cell phone that I pay for. Again I work numerous hours whether it is due to the everyday work, someone calling out or a meeting. I want to go after them for not paying over time. Although I am salary I was scheduled to work the front desk with the same responsibilities as the front desk staff except I was considered the Manager on Duty. I was never given a fair opportunity nor was I given the necessary tools that were needed in order for me to achieve my goals or their expectations. I have brought the issues to my direct supervisor on numerous occasions and he even told me that if I cant find the time to get more work done due to me working the front desk then I would need to come in on my days off. Again I brought it to his attention just recently and I told him that I hear our GM telling other Managers to "Be here when needed and not when not needed". He agreed and said then if we are not busy on certain days then I can choose to come in later as long as I was there for the later part of the evening. Because I worked the front desk I feel as if I should be paid for all the overtime that I worked as everyone else was. I felt as if I was mislead when I was hired. I do not have a time card and there is no way of tracking my hours except from certain reports that can be printed off the computer but again it is not fully accurate but it still gives me an estimated time. Can you please tell me what I can do to calculate my hours and if I may be eligible for overtime.

  • #2
    You raised about 20 different issues, most of which are at best unfair, but not illegal. I am going to respond to one only, and that is the overtime issue. You might have a winable claim, you might not. You basically need to either file a wage claim with WA-DOL or talk to attorney about a court action. The court action in theory might bring in more money if you win, but your attorney will probably want you to pay him/her up front, and you might end up stuck with court costs if you lose. Wage claims have no cost other then time. Also, neither WA-DOL or WA courts care about anyone's opinion other then their own. It does not matter whether or not anyone thinks you have a good case.

    I am going to include a pointer to the federal DOL's rules on the Exempt exception for Administrative employees. That is the obvious Exempt classification for your former employer to try to argue. You need to read the rules over and over again until you understand (or at least memorize) them. Any argument you make has to be in the context of these rules. The key will be all wording involving the Primary Duties Test. Please note that 90%+ of your post has nothing to do with the overtime rules, and that in my experience a laundry list of general greviances against the former employer unrelated to the wage claim or court action does not positively influence the "judge" making the decision. These decisions often go against the party that wastes the most of the "court's" time.

    After you read the rules a few times, you will almost certainly decide that the rules are unclear (which they are) and assume that if you re-ask the question there is some magic answer that will make the rules clear. No such luck. The rules are deliberately unclear because they were written that way. There are a ton of state and circumstance specific case law which a good law firm could be put together (for a price), but no one is going to do that for free, and even money the "judge" who decides your issue has not read these cases and might not care what they say. The good news is that your former employer is looking at the other side of exactly the same problem, and the burden of proof is on them to prove that you are Exempt, not on you to prove that you are not.

    It does not matter that you do not know the exact hours worked. Almost no one does. Best guess. A word of warning. If the "judge" thinks that you are fudging the hours, they might also tend to discount everything else you say. Credibility is almost everything in these situations.
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
    Philip K. **** (1928-1982)


    • #3
      Over Time Washington

      Does it make a difference if I accepted the position knowing that it was salary based? I worked only 1 week out of the 2 week pay period therefore are they only required to pay me for the 1 week although I am salary based? I plan on contacting the HR Manager and requesting a copy of my file, by law is she required to give me copies of all documents that pertain to me? What are the odds of winning my case thru the DOL verses hiring a lawyer. It is extremely important to me that I win this case but again I am unemployed therefor my finances are limited at this time. I cannot afford to pay for lawyer fees that is unless there is one that would take the case under another payment arraignment/agreement. I thank you for sharing your knowledge with me.


      • #4
        As DAW already advised "salary" is not necessarily the same as "exempt". Are you exempt or nonexempt? If you don't know, what are your daily job duties?

        And what you can do to track your hours is to keep your own records. If you are, in fact, nonexempt, the fact that the employer has not kept accurate time records is going to be to your advantage if/when you file a claim for unpaid overtime.
        I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.


        • #5
          As Patty just said, "Salaried" is just a payment method and does not mean much by itself. Your employer is going to try to claim that you are Exempt if you have an overtime claim. I will include a pointer to the docking rules for Exempt Salaried employees. The potential large claim is overtime, although failure of the employer to follow the 541.602 rules would weaken their claim that you are Exempt.

          No one can tell you what your odds of winning are. This is not the lottery. Anyone who tells you this is a sure thing is seriously confused. Anyone who thinks that they can predict the odds is kidding themselves. Judges will find against people because they do not like their haircuts (or attitudes). I have worked for employers who lost small claim court decisions in which the law was clearly on our side and the judge just plain did not care what the law said. There is no certainty what-so-ever that you are going to win this no matter what you do.

          Regarding lawyers, bring your case to a lawyer and see if you can find one willing to work on a contingent basis. IMO, they will not. Lawyers work on contingent basis only if there is a sure thing or a chance at a big pay day. What you have said so far promises neither.

          You need to read the Exempt Administrative classification I gave you and you need to start estimating your unpaid hours worked.
          "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
          Philip K. **** (1928-1982)


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