I recently learned (much to my surprise!) that everyone isn't aware of the standing of paralegals under the Fair Labor Standard's Act ("FLSA").
All paralegals should familiarize themselves with 29 CFR §541.301. In summary, most paralegals are non-exempt. There are exceptions, such as if a paralegal has specialized training, like a nurse hired to review medical records. There are many resources on this issue, including information on the ABA website.
If a firm or company isn't paying a paralegal overtime, it may just be that the parties are unaware of the law. Unfortunately, other employers may knwo the law, but be trying to avoid paying overtime to their paralegals.
If a paralegal believes she is entitled to overtime pay but is not receiving it, she should first approach her employer about a resolution. If those efforts are not successful, the paralegal may consider contacting an employment law attorney and/or the state wage and hour division. Unfortunately, despite laws in most states that prohibit retaliation against employees who file such claims, an employer may retaliate against the employee.
It can be a tough position for a paralegal who believes she is entitled to overtime but not receiving it. While no particular course of action is advisable for every situation, every paralegal should be familiar with this issue. After all, forewarned is forearmed.
Special thanks to Lynne DeVinney for her assistance with this post.