What constitutes legal employment practices?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What constitutes legal employment practices?

I worked as a short order cook at a local restaurant. I was paid salary of

$600 a week. That was agreed upon for 40 hours of work. We had an employee go to jail and since I was salary she forced me to work his hours without compensation. With salary is this legal? Also, if I wanted a night off or if I was sick, I was forced to pay my replacement out of my check after taxes were taken out is this legal? I’m worried today when I go pick up my

paycheck since I quit she will try to make me pay out of my check money to

whoever she hired as my replacement.

Asked on October 21, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Indiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

1) As a general matter, if you are salaried, you can be made to work any number of hours without additional base pay and to do another employee's job, too. Your weekly salary is your total weekly non-overtime (see below) compensation for all the work you do.
2) However, being paid a salary does not automatically mean that you are exempt from (that is, do not earn or receive) overtime. To be exempt from overtime, not only must you be paid a salary, but your job duties, responsibilities, and authority must meet one or more of the "exemptions" listed on the U.S. Dept. of Labor website under "overtime"; if you don't meet one of the exemptions, then even if you are paid a salary, you must be paid overtime when working more than 40 hours in a week. While you need to compare the specifics of your job to those exemptions, there is a very good chance that a short-order cook was not exempt; and if not exempt, you should have been paid overtime, despite being salaried, for any weeks when you worked more than 40 hours. If not paid overtime when you worked more than 40 hours/week, you may have a claim for unpaid overtime and may wish to contact the state or federal department of labor to file a complaint.
(Calculating overtime if salaried but not exempt: typically, divide your weekly salary by 40 to get the effective or equivalent hourly rate--in your case, $600/40 hours = $15/hour. For every hour beyond 40 you worked in a week, you should have received additional pay = 50% of that rate, or 50% x $15 or $7.50. So say you worked 60 hours a week for a month while covering for someone; each week, you worked 20 hours more than 40 hours, so each week you should have received 20 x $7.50 or $150.00 more.)
3) You cannot be required to pay other employees if they cover for you. The employer could suspend, demote, or even fire you if you miss work when you did not have paid time off, like vacation or sick days, to use, but it can't make you pay the other employee; that is the employer's responsibility. You should get back money you paid for other employees to cover for you, and that's something else you can discuss with the dept. of labor.
4) And similarly, you can't have money taken out of your last paycheck to pay for anyone replacing you--that is illegal.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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