DETROIT – A Detroit law firm paid its administrative and support staff workers a salary for all hours worked but failed to pay at least 36 workers the overtime wages they earned. Investigators with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division determined that, while the employees of McKeen & Associates P.C. met the salary requirements, they did not meet the duty requirements to defer the employer’s overtime pay obligation to the workers as executive, administrative, or professionally exempt employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

If a professional employee does not meet all the following requirements, the employer must pay overtime:

The employee must be compensated on a salary or fee basis (as defined in the regulations) at a rate not less than $684 per week.
The employee’s primary duty must be the performance of work requiring advanced knowledge, defined as work which is predominantly intellectual in character, and requires the consistent exercise of discretion and judgment.
The advanced knowledge must be in a field of science or learning; and must be customarily acquired by a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction.

“Our investigation of McKeen & Associates found the firm systemically violated overtime regulations by misapplying overtime rules to avoid paying salaried workers the overtime pay they were due,” said Wage and Hour District Director Timolin Mitchell in Detroit. “Overtime violations are among the most common found by the agency, and they are easily avoidable. We encourage employers to use our online tools or contact the Wage and Hour Division with questions to ensure they are paying workers all of their rightful wages and prevent costly penalties for violating the law.” 

McKeen & Associates P.C. specializes in medical malpractice and personal injury cases at its offices in Detroit, South Haven, and Ottawa, Ohio.

The FLSA requires that most employees in the U.S. be paid at least the federal minimum wage for all hours worked and overtime pay at not less than time and one-half the required rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek.

Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division. Employers and workers can call the division confidentially with questions regardless of their immigration status. The department can speak with callers confidentially in more than 200 languages through the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243).

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