To stay in compliance with the rules of the department of labor we needed to either reclassify the part time employee in Denver to hourly or raise the salary to ensure we were in compliance with the law. We raised the salary as our goal was to keep the majority of our folks in the exempt category (that way we do not have mess with a bunch of other government rules, lunch, breaks, time cards etc – all of which are impractical for folks that are working online and out of sight). I am still an optimist on the topic of how business treats it workers and believe that the majority of business does willingly comply with whatever rules are established.
See, much of the problem is that people consider those rules to be expensive nuisances. You speak highly of those employees, but also state that you don’t want to give them breaks and such. It’s not impractical to keep track of these things for people who work online. In the medical transcription biz, companies who were caught by the Dept of Labor switched over to paying hourly, but only after forcing employees to download tracking software or lending them company computers that log every second worked. Friends of mine who write for professional publications are paid piecemeal based on a standard rate everyone gets. Those that edit or moderate are told to work X hours a day and are paid per hour, with the contract stating that if more hours are needed to finish the work a new contract must be negotiated immediately. So it can be done.
Related: Those computers and that software the transcription companies use are also abused. There have been repeated complaints from employees that they were harassed and yelled at and fired for taking bathroom breaks; the employers felt that if they were paying hourly, that person should be typing every single second for their entire 8-hour shift. Can you imagine? Do you know of ANY office job like that? No breaks for eating, to rest the muscles, to stand, to go to the bathroom. So then the Dept of Labor steps in again, and the company closes down. In two cases, the owners of the companies moved on to different businesses where they started trying to scam the system by keeping all their employees exempt again. It doesn’t end, and it’s attitudes like this that mean we need laws. Less laws means less rights for employees.
And it sounds like GTM has enough problems that the City, maybe the State, need to start looking into the situation to make sure employees rights are being met. Rights in this state are really, really limited anyway. If the Dept of Labor had to step in, I can’t even imagine how bad it was.