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Employee Files Suit Against Centerpoint Over Unpaid Overtime

Christopher Boone, a technology specialist, with Centerpoint Energy claims that the company owes money in unpaid overtime wages. Through a lawsuit that was filed in Jefferson County District on July 20, the Southeast Texas Record reports that the employee is hoping to recover these wages along with liquidated damages and attorney's fees. The plaintiff has a Houston employment lawyer to represent him in the case.

This overtime suit is different than other claims that allege violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, because the court records state that Christopher Boone received overtime pay from Centerpoint until April 2007. However, the suit states that the employee's status was changed to "exempt" and that he was not paid overtime wages with his exempt status.

Here's the question that remains: Is Christopher Boone rightfully exempt from overtime pay or is his exempt status not justified? FindLaw states that the U.S. Department of Labor regulations do exempt some people from earning overtime wages. Employees who earn less than $455 per week or $23,660 per year are automatically entitled to receive overtime pay. However, employees who earn over this amount and compensated on a salary, rather than an hourly wage, are held to different standards.

Salaried employees that are executives, learned professionals, or creative professionals are often exempt from overtime pay. In addition outside sales employees and computer employees are also exempt from overtime requirements. A computer employee can be salaried, paid a fee of at least $455 per week, or be paid an hourly wage over $27.63 per hour in order to be exempt from overtime status.

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