Overtime compensation lawsuits rise in Idaho

July 17, 2012 12:07 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Companies have a duty to their employees to follow all regulations, particularly with regard to payment. However, if a business owner in Arizona is accused of not paying in full, he or she should confer with Phoenix business law attorneys.

Such was the case for businesses in Idaho, where a number of lawsuits have centered around workers alleging that employers did not provide overtime compensation, according to the Associated Press. While the state's unemployment rate reached close to 9 percent, 44 lawsuits were filed in Idaho in the last three and a half years.

Nationally, approximately 7,000 labor lawsuits were filed between the early months of 2010 and Spring 2011. This is an increase of 1,700 suits when compared to the previous three years.

"There's more economic pressure. Companies want to get the work done, but they want to control their labor costs," Daniel Williams, a Boise attorney representing the plaintiffs, told the news source. "A lot of employees feel like they have to [comply with] it because it's a tough labor market."

According to the local publication Idaho Statesman, federal laws have specific exemptions for certain employees when it comes to overtime pay. For instance, executive, administrative, computer and outside sales professionals are often exempt from overtime compensation. In general, a person who receives at least $455 per week will likely not receive overtime pay because of these regulations.

Stefanie Magee is one plaintiff who worked as a physician assistant at the Boise Orthopedic Clinic, which merged with St. Luke's in 2010. Magee claimed that her job was not exempt from overtime pay but she often had to work around-the-clock.

Businesses must ensure that hourly employees receive full payment, as not paying overtime in certain scenarios is illegal. Even exempt employees can lose exemptions under certain conditions, causing the employer to be liable for overtime. On the other hand, in some cases an exempt employee may work and be paid for extra hours without triggering a loss of exmpt status. Particularly with higher paid employees the cost of mistakes can be high – and public policy favors the employee – so when in doubt a conscientious business owner or exectuive may want to consult with a business attorney.

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