Recently, a Minnesota employer posed a question about its liabilities for overtime under Minnesota's overtime law, as compared to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.
Although an employment agreement might provide additional protections, the FLSA requires employers in Minnesota and nationwide to pay qualifying employees one and one half times their regular rate of compensation for all hours above 40 worked in a given week. The law also established a national minimum wage and prohibits the employment of minors in many contexts.
To the extent state laws would offer fewer protections, employers subject to the FLSA may not fall below the federal FLSA threshold. In this case, Minnesota's overtime law requires time and one half pay after a 48-hour workweek. The employer identified itself as a small company with operations only in Minnesota, and questioned whether it was obligated to comply with FLSA laws.
Whether an employer is subject to the FLSA depends on the nature of its business. Yet the scope of the FLSA is extremely broad, covering all employers and enterprises engaged in interstate commerce.
That's good news for Minnesota's workers. Although a legal term of art, the modern technology and exchange of goods relied on by today's employers means that nearly all employers might be deemed to engage in interstate commerce, for purposes of the FLSA. For example, activities as simple as authorizing credit card purchases or purchasing goods from an out-of-state supplier might qualify.
If you believe your employer is wrongly denying you federal protections under the FLSA, an attorney can review your claim and advise you of your options.
Source: Business Management Daily, "Might we be covered by Minnesota's OT rules?" Carl Crosby Lehmann, July 22, 2012