New York federal court judge recently conditionally certified a national collective class action lawsuit alleging that KPMG violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and the New York Labor Law by misclassifying its Audit Associates as exempt and not paying them overtime wages. KPMG is one of the Big Four Accounting Firms which has over 80 offices and 23,000 employees in the U.S. Audit associates working at such public accounting firms are known for putting in grueling overtime hours which range anywhere from 40 to 80 plus hours a week.
In conditionally certifying the FLSA collection action, the court found that the Audit employees were subject to the same policies and procedures concerning their job duties, had the same training, and worked under the same job description. Moreover, they all had to adhere to the same strict professional and regulatory rules and standards governing the accounting profession. The court did not decide the ultimate issue in the case of whether the audit associates job duties renders them as non-exempt employees. The class certification now allows audit associates across the country who are within the 3 year statute of limitations to join in the lawsuit. Our attorneys have helped many employees figure out their proper classification and recover their rightful overtime wages.
Regardless of where you work or what your job title is, your actual job duties determine whether you are a non-exempt employee and entitled to overtime pay. For example, even if you have the job title of Manager but you are basically performing routine, clerical work which is equivalent to the job duties of a secretary, you are a non-exempt employee under the law and entitled to overtime for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours a week.
The FLSA provides an exemption for employees working as bona fide executive, administrative, professional, and outside sales employees, and certain computer related occupations from both minimum wage and overtime pay protection. In order for the exemptions to apply, the employee must meet certain criteria regarding their job duties and be paid a base salary of at least $455 per week. If you think you fall into one of the above catergories, our attorneys can help you figure out if you meet all criteria to be a non-exempt employee.
Misclassification occurs in all areas of industry and affects all types of workers including white-collar workers. By giving employees a great job title and classifying them as exempt, employers reap huge savings by not paying overtime wages. It not only costs the misclassified worker his lost wage in overtime pay but also affects the amount of taxes collected by the government.
The outcome in this case may have wide ranging ramifications for white-collar workers as well as for major accounting and financial companies. If you are an exempt white-collar employee, think about whether your job duties really involve significant, independent judgment. Do you have the power the hire and fire employees? Does your supervisor control every aspect of your job? Do your job duties involve routine, clerical work? These are just a few questions to consider. If you think you are misclassified as an exempt employee and losing out on overtime wages, call our FLSA Attorneys at Villanueva & Sanchala at (800) 893-9645 to discuss and analyze whether you really should be treated as a non-exempt employee and thus entitled to the protections of the FLSA and state law.
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