The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a set of regulations that controls a number of aspects pay, hours, and more for most workplaces. There are some workplaces that are exempt from these regulations, however, but it can be easy to feel confused when trying to determine if your employer is exempt from these laws or not. Many small businesses fall into a gray area of the law when it comes to FLSA coverage, so it is common for wage and hour disputes to arise from misinterpretation of the law.
Which Businesses Must Comply with FLSA?
According to the FLSA, businesses whose annual sales exceed $500,000 or who engage in interstate commerce are required to comply with the FLSA. While the annual sales requirement allows many small businesses to operate without FLSA compliance, the second requirement of interstate commerce may cause some confusion.
The term interstate commerce is interpreted very broadly by courts, so it can be hard to tell if you actually have a claim under the FLSA or not. In the past, courts have ruled that businesses that regularly use the U.S. mail to send or receive business correspondence between states are involved in interstate commerce. Using a telephone or computer to place or accept interstate calls may also be interpreted as interstate commerce. You shouldn’t assume that your employer is exempt simply because it does not sell or deliver services to businesses, consumers, or other entities in other states.
Which Businesses are Exempt from FLSA?
The truth is—very few. Very small farms, which require less than 500 man-days of outside farm labor in a calendar quarter are typically exempt. Other small businesses who may be considered exempt include small newspapers and newspaper delivery services, employees of seasonal amusement or recreation establishments, or those who are involved in fishing.
There also may be partial exemptions, such as a full or partial exemption from overtime pay only. Most of these businesses involve hospitals or other medical care facilities, or public agencies, such a police or fire departments. Commissioned employees also may fall under this umbrella, as may live-in domestic service workers, some employees of non-metropolitan broadcasting stations, and farmworkers.
Even if your employer falls into one of these categories, it does not necessarily mean that you are exempt from receiving overtime. There are a variety of factors to consider in determining whether you are entitled to overtime.
Small Businesses & Verifying FLSA Exemptions
If you suspect that your employer is not exempt from FLSA standards, but is not complying with these regulations, it is important to contact an experienced employment law attorney. They can help you investigate whether you have an unpaid wage and hour claim by determining whether your employer is violating the FLSA.
At Donati Law, PLLC, we’re dedicated to helping employees protect their rights. If we discover that you are not being paid what you are owed, you can trust that we will do everything in our power to fight for your best interests and ensure that your employer complies with all applicable labor laws, including the FLSA. Our Memphisemployment law attorneys are on your side.