Many Retail Employees in New York are Routinely Classified as Exempt, and Thus Not Entitled to Overtime

The retail industry is notorious for taking advantage of its employees, especially when it comes to overtime pay. Many “big-box” retailers (such as wholesalers and home-supply stores) operate on extremely tight margins, and routinely require employees to put in 10 or 20 hours per week of unpaid overtime. On the other end of the scale, many comparably strapped mom-and-pop operations compel their employees to work long hours without pay, and don't even pay the minimum wage.

If you're a retail employee in New York who regularly works uncompensated overtime, you need the advice of an experienced overtime pay lawyer from Kennedy Hodges LLP.

New York Law Allows Some Retail Employees to Be Classified As Exempt

In many cases, New York retailers justify their withholding of overtime pay by classifying their employees as exempt. A retail exemption is slightly different from that for other industries. According to New York law and the Fair Labor Standards Act, a retail employee is exempt if she:

  • Is employed by a retail or service establishment; and
  • Is paid an hourly wage at least one and one-half as times as much as the federal minimum wage (put simply, this amounts to at least $10.87 per hour for every hour worked); and
  • Derives more than half of her income from commissions.

A simple perusal of this list should be enough to show that most so-called “exempt” retail employees don't actually merit this classification. Very few employees at New York big-box retailers or mom-and-pop stores work on commission, and many, if not most, low-level retail workers don't earn anywhere near $10.87 per hour, no matter how many hours they work in a given week.

Of course, retailers can use other tricks—besides improper exemptions—to cheat employees out of overtime pay. Deliberately undercounting hours and forcing employees to work through their lunch breaks are only two of the most common practices.

Are You a Retail Employee in the State of New York Who Has Been Denied Overtime? You Need to Hire an Experienced Lawyer

At Kennedy Hodges LLP, we know all the techniques used by New York employers to cheat workers out of overtime pay. If you regularly put in over 40 hours per week at your job and don't see a dime of overtime, you may be entitled to back compensation—and your employer may be subject to a penalty for his willfully illegal practices. Connect to an experienced back pay recovery attorney from Kennedy Hodges LLP at 888-449-2068. We accept clients nationwide. Call now for a free consultation.