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How Can I Tell if I’ve Been Paid Fairly at Work?

Laws are put into place each year by The Fair Labor Standards Act that aim to make the American workplace fair for everyone. However, this is not always the case. The debate on fair wages only gets more complicated when hourly and non-exempt employees are factored in. The minimum amount an employer can pay you in the state of Florida is $8.56/hour or $684/week for exempt white-collar workers.

When employers violate employment laws, they can incur severe penalties on themselves and their businesses, costing them double the amount owed to their employees or more, along with their own legal fees and expenses.

Exempt vs. Non-exempt

If your employer is refusing to pay you overtime, it is usually a good indicator of unfair pay. However, overtime is a luxury reserved for non-exempt employees. If you are unsure whether you are classified as an exempt employee or non-exempt, here are some ways to tell:


  • You are paid a salary wage, not hourly

  • You are not entitled to be paid for working overtime

  • Your minimum salary required is $35,568/year or $684/week by federal standards

  • The five typical exempt job duties are executive, professional, administrative, computer, outside sales


  • You can be paid a salary or hourly wage ($8.56/hr minimum)

  • Entitled to paid overtime amounting to no less than 1.5 times their regular rate after working over 40 hours in one pay week

  • Minimum pay for non-exempt employees is at least the federal minimum wage ($7.25/hr)

Employers that do not wish to pay their employees their full wages may attempt to classify their non-exempt employees as exempt in order not to pay them overtime. This potential overtime can take the form of answering emails, being “on-call”, working during breaks, and attending meetings either before or after the workday.

Independent Contractors vs. Employees

Being an independent contractor is another way of classification in which employers could withhold proper payment. The reason for this misclassification is a product of three main areas that employers look at when determining employment status.

  • Financial

  • Behavioral

  • Physical Representation

The financial aspect refers to the contract by which you are working for your employer. If you have a contract for a specific project with a set work schedule and payment timeline, you are most likely to be considered a contractor.

The behavioral aspect is determined by who controls your work schedule. If you determine your own hours, you are most likely considered a contactor, while a schedule set by who you work for would classify yourself as an employee.

Lastly, the physical representation of the relationship is expressed by who provides what. If the employer is the party to provide the hours to work, the workspace itself, and the tools to do the job, then you are more than likely to be considered an employee.

Red Flags Suggesting Unfair Pay

Here are some signs to look for if you believe that you are being withheld from your fair pay:

  • Your employer pays you in cash after asking you to work an extra day

  • Your employer asks you to work through your lunch break

  • You earn tips and your employer pools what you received with people who do not earn tips

  • Your employer pays you under the table for working weekends and overtime

  • You do not get paid 1.5 times your average rate for working over 40 hours a week

Contact Us Today

Our firm understands the fact that your job is your well-being, and the way you provide for yourself and your family. With decades of combined experience, we are prepared to fight for your rights as an employee. With our performances earning members of our team membership within America’s Top 1%, a Superb Avvo Rating, and ranking among Rising Stars℠, our team is ready to help.

If you recognize any of the above red flags at your job, do not hesitate to contact us today. The team at Law Offices of Nolan Klein, P.A. is highly experienced in cases of unpaid wages. Call us at (877) 745-0090 or contact us online today for a free consultation.