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Alaska Communications Sued for Overtime and Wage Violations

Overtime Pay Lawsuit Example: Alaska Communications Systems Group

A class and collective action suit was filed recently against one of Alaska’s largest communications companies.  The suit alleges that Alaska Communications Systems Group failed to pay its sales and marketing employees overtime pay as required under federal and state law. It also alleges that the company forced its sales and marketing employees to falsify their time sheets by not allowing them to record their overtime hours.  The lead plaintiff started as a market analyst and then moved to a sales position during her 8 years of employment.  The company classified her as an exempt employee and therefore not entitled to overtime.  She averaged more than 60 hours per week.

upset employee

However, the state of Alaska Labor Laws have stepped in. In November 2011, the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development made a determination that the plaintiff was not an exempt employee and was entitled to overtime pay, but the company refused to follow the department’s determination.  The suit seeks to recover overtime pay for all employees who worked in a sales or marketing position for Alaska Communications.

As the plaintiff’s attorneys commented, the Alaska overtime laws were designed to reduce unemployment by discouraging employers from having a few employees work long hours instead of hiring additional workers.  If employers can classify more employees as exempt, they can work these employees long hours without paying them overtime pay and, therefore, have no incentive to hire additional workers.

Common Overtime Exempt Traps

Most commonly, an employer will label an employee as a “manager” or “supervisor”, pay them a salary, and claim they are exempt under the Executive Exemption.  In rare instances, the employee’s salary may not meet the minimum required which is $455* per week ($684 as of 1/1/20).  More often, however, the employee’s duties do not meet the exemption requirements.  Usually they lack the necessary managerial/supervisory authority required by the exemption.  It is important to remember that merely being paid a salary or being labeled a manager does not determine your exempt status – only your job duties do.

* 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. Instead, the Trump Administration only increased the salary amount to $684 per week effective 1/1/2020. Please see this page for the latest updates.

Do You Need an Overtime Attorney?

If you feel you are misclassified as an exempt employee and should be receiving overtime pay and would like us to evaluate your situation, please call us at 713-782-LAW1 (5291) or 866-559-0400 or submit your information using our convenient Case Evaluation form.

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A situation that involves attorneys is emotional - Mike Lore is an attentive listener and really helped me come to the terms of my situation. He used his understanding of the law to construct a case that was grounded in fact and skipped the needless 'finger-pointing' and 'he-said/she-said' back and forth. Mike's professionalism with me (the client) and the opposing attorney moved the case forward quickly with a successful result.

- E.S.

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After talking to HR and trying to find answers to my questions about the overtime laws online, I was so confused. I contacted the firm and spoke to Stacy. She was so nice and took the time to review my pay stubs. She explained what the law requires and how it applied to my job. Turns out I do not have a case. Even though I didn’t have a case, she sent me a follow up email with even more information. So glad I called them.

- P.A.

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We live in another state, but my husband's company sent him to work in Texas for 6 months. With the laws being completely different from our home state, it was nice to speak to a professional that could put us at ease and explain the laws to us.

- D.E.