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Virtual Paralegalism

The Blog Formerly Known As Practical Paralegalism

Don’t Let Your Employer Pinch Your Overtime

Don’t Let Your Employer Pinch Your Overtime

A lot of law firms may be pinching pennies, but don’t let them pinch the ones that you’re legally entitled to. I don’t know why I’m still surprised when I get email or see listserv queries from paralegals and legal assistants wondering if they should be paid for their overtime hours. A significant number of them report they have been told that since they are salaried, they aren’t entitled to overtime, which just isn’t true.

The Wisconsin Law Journal has published a must-read article, “Lawyers, firms must check for FLSA violations”, about the necessity for law firms to properly classify legal support staff and pay overtime in compliance with The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), including paralegals. The article includes the following information specifically about paralegals from Madison attorney Tamara B. Packard:

She noted that a Department of Labor advisory opinion from 2005, FLSA 2005-9, specifically addressed the issue of whether a paralegal with a four-year degree, a paralegal certificate, CLE and 22 years’ experience could fall under the professional exemption, and concluded he or she could not.

Rather, the exemption is only available for paralegals who possess advanced specialized degrees in other professional fields and apply advanced knowledge in that field in the performance of their duties. For example, an engineer, hired as a paralegal to provide expert advice on product liability or patent cases, could qualify.

Paralegals are professional, mostly salaried employees, but that doesn’t change the fact that we’re entitled to those hard-earned overtime dollars and cents.

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Contact Info:

Lynne J. DeVenny, N.C. State Bar Certified Paralegal

Owner & Virtual Paralegal, DeVenny Paralegal Services

Email: lynne.devenny[at]gmail.com

Telephone: 336-582-0003

Inquiries are welcome, with free quotes available.

Meet Lynne:

Lynne DeVenny is a North Carolina State Bar Certified Paralegal with over 27 years of experience working on complex litigation cases, including medical malpractice, personal injury, workers’ compensation, and Social Security disability.

Disclosure: I am not a lawyer and cannot provide legal representation or legal advice.

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