What Happens When I’m Forced to Go Non-Exempt?

by Evil HR Lady on August 24, 2015

I have been an exempt supervisor for the past ten years. With all this talk of the changes to exempt federal minimum wage, I have some questions. I’ve already heard rumors in my company that their intentions are to make the exempt employees who are making less than the proposed new minimum wage into nonexempt employees and schedule us for 36 hours per week.

My question is, will they be able to lower my pay below what I’m making now? In other words, say I am paid salary, and if it was to be broken down hourly it would be $16/hour, can they decide they want to give me $14/hour? The other question is if they change me to nonexempt without changing my job duties will I be able to sue for two years of back overtime?

Thanks for you help.
To read the answer, click here: What Happens When I’m Forced to Go Non-Exempt?

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Camellia August 24, 2015 at 3:19 pm

Can an employer just arbitrarily decide to change an employee from exempt to non-exempt? I thought there are definitions/categories that are used to determine into which category an employee falls.

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Evil HR Lady August 24, 2015 at 3:34 pm

It’s always legal to pay someone as non-exempt. In this situation, though, it’s the government that is changing the standard for what exempt means. They are raising the minimum salary for exempt employees to $50,440, so anyone below that will have to be non-exempt.

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Jeanne August 25, 2015 at 9:38 pm

I don’t understand exempt part-timer. I have never seen a position like that. A part-timer getting paid time off for a doctor appt? I can’t imagine companies doing this. Many companies don’t even allow paid time off for a doctor visit if you’re full time exempt. You have to use PTO or make up the time.

I think this has to be a very tiny concern related to the law change.

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Evil HR Lady August 26, 2015 at 10:00 am

Yep. It’s real. I lived it for 4 years as a part time exempt employee.

It’s a tiny concern to most people, but it’s not to the people (mostly women) who have these professional exempt jobs.

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JB September 9, 2015 at 6:36 pm

How about just killing the whole concept of being exempt? It’s confusing and results in zillions of unpaid labor hours for the entire country. It also breeds inefficiency because there is no financial benefit to streamlining workflow when your employees can work infinite hours for the same price. The concept of being paid for when you go to a doctors visit is nice and all but very few companies adhere to this anyway. Do non-US countries do this? I’m guessing there are many that don’t and they function just as well compensating based on hours worked.

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Evil HR Lady September 10, 2015 at 12:20 pm

Non US countries do do this as well. If I’m an adult and you’re an adult, why shouldn’t we be able to agree on a pay rate that fits both of our expectations?

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JB September 11, 2015 at 1:08 am

Who are these other countries? When I read about Europe I’m seeing extremes in the other direction such as banning after work emails, reducing hours, etc. Even third world country sweat shops pay by the hour. Finding overseas equivalents has always stumped me.

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Evil HR Lady September 14, 2015 at 9:19 am

It’s extremely common. For example, you read about France’s 35 hour work week, but that’s only for non-managerial employees. The rules are quite similar to the US.

Switzerland (where we live) is the same. My husband gets a straight salary (plus bonus). Professional jobs are salaried jobs.

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rita haddad August 2, 2018 at 8:10 pm

my director just changed my status from exempt to non-exempt. I have been an exempt Executive Assistant to the Chairman of Surgery for 13 years. No she forced me to be non-exempt. is that legal?

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