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Working for free in TN? Tennessee

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  • Working for free in TN? Tennessee

    I am currently working in Tennessee as an employee (I get a W2 and they with-hold FICA) for a company that performs installation work for the local cable company.

    I read over FLSA Section 13(a)(1) and am under the impression that I am non-exempt since the exemptions do not apply to "manual laborers or other 'blue collar' workers who perform work involving repetitive operations with their hands, physical skill and energy." Climbing utility poles and installing cable lines in people's homes sees like it falls into that category.

    Our pay is strictly based on how many installs we complete. Although no one makes less that minimum wage based on their pay and hours worked, there is no actual tracking of hours by the company.

    Every week, we have meetings that last for about 3 hours. We are required to attend even on our days off, yet we are not reimbursed for attending them. Is there any way to get paid for these meetings?

    Another concern I have is with "charge backs". If a customer is unhappy for their service any time within 30 days of us performing the installation, we get charged $85. Most jobs pay any where from $30 to $50. We are actually loosing more money than we made if this happens. Is it legal for them to take away more money than they give us?

    I like my job and don't want to loose it. I just do not like the thought of working for free and was wondering if I had any options. Thank you for your time.

  • #2
    As long as your total pay for the week divided by the total hours worked (including meetings) is at least minimum wage, there is no violation of the FLSA. However, the employer is in violation of the requirement to keep records of hours worked by their nonexempt employees.
    http://www.dol.gov/compliance/laws/c...#recordkeeping

    Regarding "chargebacks", are they reducing your GROSS pay (earnings) or deducting from your NET pay (after taxes)?
    I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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    • #3
      There is no record keeping that I am aware of, atleast not on my paycheck stubs. It simply says production and then the amount I have earned.

      The chargebacks are deducted from Net pay.

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      • #4
        Regarding "chargebacks" that result from dissatisfied customers, I found the following on the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development's website:

        Can my employer withhold the cost of my uniform, equipment, company loans, shortages and negligence, etc. from my paycheck?

        No. Your employer cannot make any deductions from your paycheck without your consent to the deductions.

        http://www.state.tn.us/labor-wfd/lsques.html#laborlaws

        My interpretation of this is that they wouldn't be able to deduct from your pay without your consent. When they hired you, did they have you sign off on paperwork that allows this practice?

        Regarding the required meetings, it is my understanding that you must be compensated at least minimum wage for all hours worked (including meetings) and overtime for any hours worked in excess of 40 hours. This is true if you are a non-exempt employee which it sounds like you may be. FLSA also requires recordkeeping for hours worked on all non-exempt employees.

        The fact that you are paid by the job is fine provided that the resulting calculation of your hourly rate is greater than minimum wage. For example, let's say you have gross pay of $400 for 40 hours worked. The resulting hourly rate is $10 per hour which is higher than minimum wage.

        http://www.dol.gov/esa/media/press/w...a/20042129.xml

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        • #5
          Robb, I agree with you about the deductions. Those cannot be deducted without the employee's consent in Tennessee.

          But, I have to disagree about the case you referenced. In these cases, the employees were NOT paid minimum wage for all hours worked, and I'm not sure these situations are really on point. But, it's not impossible, I've been wrong before.
          I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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          • #6
            Thanks for your help. I never signed any document stating it was ok to have charge backs. I have enough gone through the contract between my company and the cable company and not once a charge back mentioned or implied.

            As far as the meetings go, I guess I am out of luck. They do not keep any records but based on my pay and hours, I make well above minimum wage.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Pattymd
              But, I have to disagree about the case you referenced. In these cases, the employees were NOT paid minimum wage for all hours worked, and I'm not sure these situations are really on point. But, it's not impossible, I've been wrong before.
              I should have been more clear as to why I included that link. I did it to support the recordkeeping requirement. And Pattymd your input is always appreciated. You are very knowledgable and I certainly do learn something new when I read your responses.

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              • #8
                Ah, well, then, you betcha they are in violation. If the DOL ever audits this employer, they will be fined for the recordkeeping violations. And if an employee ever does file a claim for unpaid wages or overtime or failure to pay minimum wage (especially with these task-based-paid employees), they'll win.

                Thank you for your support (in my best Bartyle's and James accent).
                I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

                Comment

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