12 Million Reasons for IT Workers to Think About Overtime Pay
IT services and telecommunications workers employed by HP Enterprise Services are set to receive almost $12 million dollars in settlement of their claims that they were illegally denied premium pay for their overtime hours. This is yet another in a long line of cases in which IT and tech support workers have been successful in recovering substantial compensation for being misclassified as “exempt” from the Fair Labor Standards Act and/or state overtime pay laws.
This case (filed in New York), and those that have preceded it, should cause workers whose jobs are IT related but do not involve actual computer programming to take a careful look at how they are classified and compensated. While the wage and hour laws do provide a specific exemption for certain computer employees, this exemption is not the broad get out of paying overtime card that many employers treat it as. Rather, in order for a particular IT job to legitimately qualify for the exemption, a number of specific requirements must be met, including:
- The employee must receive a salary of at least $455* per week or, if paid hourly, at a rate not less than $27.63 an hour; AND
- The employee must be employed as a computer programmer, computer systems analyst, software engineer or other similarly skilled worker in the computer field performing the duties described below; AND
- The employee’s primary duty must consist of:
- The application of systems analysis techniques and procedures, including consulting with users, to determine hardware, software or system functional specifications;
- The design, development, documentation, analysis, creation, testing or modification of computer systems or programs, including prototypes, based on and related to user or system design specifications;
- The design, documentation, testing, creation or modification of computer programs related to machine operating systems; or
- A combination of the aforementioned duties, the performance of which requires the same level of skills.
If ALL of the above criteria are not met, the job should be classified as “non-exempt” and the employee should be paid overtime.
* The Department of Labor under the Obama Administration increased this salary amount to $913 per week effective 12/1/2016; however, this increase was blocked by a court ruling. The Trump Administration is now reconsidering these changes and appears to favor a lower minimum salary amount. Please see this page for the latest updates..
Despite the many millions of dollars that have been paid out to settle claims, a large number and variety of tech companies continue to get it wrong – short changing workers of the pay they are legally owed, and saving huge sums in labor costs. While the right thing to do would be to reclassify the jobs, pay the back wages owed and pay proper overtime going forward, many employers chose to continue violating the law until they are caught and forced to deal with it. Time is on the side of the employer. The longer it is able to get away with it, the more money it saves – while workers are ultimately limited to going back 2 to 3 years (longer in New York and California) when attempting to recover unpaid overtime.
If you have been employed as an IT services worker and have questions about your overtime pay rights, Call 1-866-559-0400, email email@example.com or submit your information using our convenient Case Evaluation form for a FREE and CONFIDENTIAL review of your circumstances – because time is money.