In North Carolina, labor laws can be complex, so it may be challenging to understand what rights you are entitled to as an employee.
If you believe your rights have been violated, you should reach out to an experienced employment law attorney at EMP Law. We can help you understand what pay you are entitled to and seek the justice and compensation you deserve.
With offices in Winston-Salem and Charlotte, our lawyers serve employees throughout North Carolina.
What Is An Exempt Employee?
An exempt employee is one that does not qualify for certain protections under the Fair Labor Standards Act. These protections include overtime pay benefits and minimum wage standards.
To be an exempt employee, you must:
- Be a salaried employee, which means you are paid on a regular, fixed, and pre-determined schedule and you make at least $684 a workweek, and
- Qualify under one of the specific duties tests, which means that your job must include duties and tasks that require a relatively high level of expertise or knowledge.
The Specific Duty Tests
The specific duties tests include all of the following categorical tests. These categorical tests are:
The Executive Job Duties Test
This test requires that the executive employee:
- Regularly supervise two or more employees;
- Have management as a primary duty of the job; and
- Have real input as to the hiring, firing, promotions, and duties of other employees.
If the job meets these three factors, then the employee qualifies as an exempt-executive employee.
The Professional Job Duties Test
Professional job duties are ones that require specialized education. Doctors, lawyers, teachers, clergy members, engineers, and teachers are usually considered exempt positions under the professional job duties test.
The Administrative Job Duties Test
Exempt administrative job duties include office or non-manual duties that are:
- Directly related to the management or general business operations of the employer (or the employer’s customers) and
- Involve the independent exercise of discretion and judgment about matters of significance.
Administrative job roles often involve the power to formulate company policy or commit the company to matters that involve significant financial impacts.
What is a Salaried Employee?
A North Carolina salaried employee is paid on a fixed, predetermined schedule, i.e., they are not hourly employees.
Are Salaried Employees Exempt?
Just because an employee may be salaried does not automatically mean that they are an exempt employee. For example, if you are paid on a regular schedule but are only minimum wage, you may be a “non-exempt salaried employee.”
What Labor Laws Apply to Exempt Employees?
Exempt employees have fewer protections under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Therefore, an exempt employee does not qualify for overtime, which is generally one and a half times the hourly rate of an employee’s pay. Further, an exempt employee does not qualify for certain minimum wage standards.
Although exempt employees do not qualify for overtime or minimum wage protections, they are still protected under the vast majority of labor laws.
Rights of exempt employees include protections under:
- Unemployment compensation laws, which, under North Carolina labor laws, entitle you to certain benefits if you are fired through no fault of your own;
- Anti-discrimination laws, which are generally enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and protect an employee from being discriminated against based on race, religion, national origin, age, sex, or disability; and
- Worker’s compensation laws, which entitle you to certain benefits and compensation if you are injured as a direct result of your job.
What Labor Laws Apply to Salaried Employees?
North Carolina labor laws for salaried employees depend on if the employee is exempt or non-exempt.
As protections for exempt, salaried employees have already been discussed, some protections for non-exempt salaried employees include:
- Minimum wage requirements, which mandate that you are paid at least $7.25 an hour; and
- Overtime compensation benefits, which require that you are paid time and a half for any hours you work over 40 hours in a 7-day workweek.
Contact Our North Carolina Employment Lawyers For Help
Our firm has over 140 years of combined legal experience fighting for our client’s rights. We have attorneys experienced in North Carolina labor laws that can explain the complexities of the field and help you seek justice if you have been mistreated under the law.