The 5 most commons sins managers and supervisors commit in paying, or not paying, employees what they are owed:

1. Failure to pay the minimum wage. “We’ll pay you $5 an hour until you learn the ropes; then you move up to $7 an hour.” This is illegal.
2. Failure to pay for all hours worked. “Be sure to stay close to your phone after work in case that customer calls in from the East Coast.” Employers must pay employees for all hours worked, even if the employee has volunteered to do the work without pay. Some examples include expecting employees to take customer calls off hours or insisting that they answer the phone during an unpaid lunch break.
3. Misclassifying as exempt. “Your title is Assistant manager; you’re exempt.” Companies may classify workers as exempt to avoid paying overtime and/or to avoid paying for extra hours worked. However, an employee’s title does not mean anything and the fact that the person is paid on a salary basis does not mean anything — it’s the job duties that determine whether a worker is exempt.
4. Misclassifying as independent contractors. “You’ll be working alongside our regular employees but you’ll be an independent contractor.” Many employers may classify workers as independent contractors in order to avoid payments that would have been made to employees on their behalf (e.g., Social Security). But many so-called “independent contractors” are actually employees. The more control the employer has over how the person does the job, the more likely that worker is not an independent contractor.
5. Failure to properly calculate and pay overtime. Employers can’t avoid their obligation to pay overtime. Under federal law, the employer is obligated to pay the employee at a rate of 1.5 times the regular rate for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek. Employees are also entitled to overtime pay for all hours worked over 8 hours a day. Finally, employers must pay employees at a rate of 2 times the regular hourly pay, if the employees works over 12 hours in one day.

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