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North Carolina Overtime Attorneys


Often, employers do not pay their employees all wages they are entitled to receive, such as overtime pay as governed by the North Carolina Wage and Hour Act and the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. Employees working more than 40 hours per week must be paid time and one-half of their regular pay, unless specifically exempted.  It is important to remember that the burden for proving an exemption is on the employer. If you are an employee that has not been paid overtime or if you are an employer wanting to make sure you are in compliance with the law, contact the North Carolina overtime attorneys at Maginnis Howard.  Maginnis Howard is a Raleigh civil litigation firm handling employment matters relating to NC Wage and Hour Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act. Contact the firm at 919.526.0450 or submit a new case inquiry here.

Typically, exempted employees must be salaried. However, just being a salaried employee does not automatically exempt you from the overtime wage rules. One of the primary exemptions applies to “white-collar” employees. A general requirement for white-collar employees is they must be paid a guaranteed salary of at least $455.00 a week. This category applies to the following groups:

  • Executive employees;
  • Administrative employees;
  • Professional employees; and
  • Computer employees.

Generally, all of these employees must meet certain requirements regarding primary duties to be exempt from overtime pay. To determine employee’s “primary duties,” certain factors are analyzed, including the employee’s relative freedom from direct supervision and the importance of the exempt duties compared with other types of duties. Executive employee’s primary duties must consist of managing a business or subdivision of the business. The employee must direct the work of at least two or more employees and have the authority to hire and fire other employees or promote other employees. Administrative employees qualify for the exemption in overtime pay if their primary duties consist of the performance of office or non-manual work directly related to policy or general business operations of their employer or employer’s customers. The employee must exercise discretion and independent judgment with matters of significance. The more discretionary power they possess, the more likely they will be considered exempt. Professional employees must perform work requiring advanced knowledge in a field of science or learning acquired by prolonged specialized instruction. Professional employees include teachers, doctors, nurses, dental hygienists, actuaries, accountants, architects, and attorneys. These types of employees generally do not have to be paid overtime. Computer employees do not have to be paid overtime if employed in a computer/technology field with duties of either the application of systems analysis, designing, developing, or testing computer systems or programs or machine operating systems, or any combination of similar duties.

It is important to note that these are not the only exemptions for overtime pay. There are also exemptions for highly compensated employees, providers of companionship services, outside sales employees, and certain motor vehicle carriers. Additionally, there are some obscure exemptions from overtime pay that employees and employers should be aware of, including certain seasonal recreational and amusement establishments, certain small newspaper employees, certain seaman, and some fishing operations. If you have any questions about overtime pay or any wage and hour disputes, call Maginnis Howard at 919.526.0450.

There are no exceptions that allow for the waiver of overtime pay. An employee who works overtime must be paid overtime pay. This is true even if the employer has a policy that no overtime work will be permitted. However, there is nothing that disallows employers from appropriately disciplining employees for violations of their overtime policy as long as it is not retaliatory.

If you are an employee and have had any wages unlawfully withheld, or if you are an employer or business needing assistance with the North Carolina Wage and Hour Act or Fair Labor Standards Act, contact the civil litigation attorneys at Maginnis Howard. We regularly represent clients throughout the Triangle, including Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Cary, Apex, Knightdale, Morrisville, and Garner. Our firm offers a variety of billing arrangements such as hourly, retainer, and flat rate. To speak our civil attorneys, contact the firm at 919.526.0450, or send a confidential email inquiry using our contact page.