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Author Topic: Are summer law clerks supposed to be getting paid overtime?  (Read 2705 times)

umass22

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If you are getting paid an hourly wage but working over 40 hours, are you entitled to overtime pay as a clerk?  Firm has not been paying me overtime pay, and said law clerks are in a class that is exempt from overtime wages

nbf

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Re: Are summer law clerks supposed to be getting paid overtime?
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2009, 08:49:11 PM »
Been a while since I took Employment Law but I don't believe that is correct.  Look up the Fair Labor Standards Act.

SummerTimeChills

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Re: Are summer law clerks supposed to be getting paid overtime?
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2009, 09:06:43 PM »
I haven't started school yet, but I did work in HR previously. I want to say law clerks could well be in a class that does not require time-and-a-half pay, but as I recall, any hourly worker must be paid for the actual hours worked.

I'll ask at work tomorrow to see how our firm handles that question.
University of Alabama Class of 2012!

ToTransferOrNot

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Re: Are summer law clerks supposed to be getting paid overtime?
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2009, 11:19:20 PM »
Think really long and hard about whether this is an issue you want to push. You're lucky to have a paid job. The economy sucks. Do you really want to burn your bridges with this guy (re: references, etc.) by pushing for overtime pay?

soundsgood

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Re: Are summer law clerks supposed to be getting paid overtime?
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2009, 11:22:46 PM »
Most states exempt "white-collar" professional jobs from overtime requirements.  Different states have different ways of doing it, but "lawyer" (or its law student equivalent) is going to be excluded in just about all of them.

linquest

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Re: Are summer law clerks supposed to be getting paid overtime?
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2009, 01:33:48 AM »
Exempt status is determined by federal law, FLSA, not state law.  I'd imagine they're claiming you under the "trainee" exemption to avoid overtime, but that is a case-by-case evaluation, there is no simple bright line test of "intern" (or law clerk) vs. "employee" entitled to overtime.  For the white collar exemption, there is a minimum salary test that you must make not less than $455 per week. 

I was paid overtime for the legal internships where I was paid hourly, but I know it's common for interns to not be paid OT or even minimum wage.  It sucks, but I think ToTransferOrNot has a good point....
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soundsgood

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Re: Are summer law clerks supposed to be getting paid overtime?
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2009, 07:36:17 PM »
Are you sure about that?  I was fairly certain that FLSA sets minimum standards, and most states have their own statutes that provide varying standards.  I actually read something about it earlier this week.

This article mentions something about Federal law being the "floor, not the ceiling."  This was my understanding, but I'm not employment law guru.

http://www.stoel.com/showalert.aspx?Show=2373

lawschoolsucks

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Re: Are summer law clerks supposed to be getting paid overtime?
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2009, 02:47:53 AM »
never took employment law but i can say when i worked as a summer associate on an hourly wage, i got overtime when i worked over 40 hours a week (which was every single week). when i clerked in-house, the company actually didn't want to pay me overtime so they told me once 40 hours was reached, i was to go home. So obviously, overtime is something they knew i was guaranteed but they didn't want to have to pay it. i have never heard of a clerk exemption or anything to that effect.

Papa Bear

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Re: Are summer law clerks supposed to be getting paid overtime?
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2009, 09:31:37 PM »
Are you sure about that?  I was fairly certain that FLSA sets minimum standards, and most states have their own statutes that provide varying standards.  I actually read something about it earlier this week.

This article mentions something about Federal law being the "floor, not the ceiling."  This was my understanding, but I'm not employment law guru.

http://www.stoel.com/showalert.aspx?Show=2373

Both you and linquest are right.

As to your question UMass, if you want legal advice, I suggest you talk to an employment attorney.  Nobody here can answer your question.
"Facts have a well-known liberal bias."