Tip: Don’t misclassify workers to avoid paying overtime


Wage and Hour Bulletin

March 2023

Two restaurant employees doing dishes in a commercial kitchen.

Tip:  Don’t misclassify workers to avoid paying overtime

A Minnesota restaurant owner assigns a managerial title to a cook who does not supervise other employees. At another local restaurant, the owner promotes an employee to a "supervisor" without giving that supervisor the authority to hire or fire employees.

These are a couple of ways that employers try to avoid having to pay overtime by making it appear as though these employees meet the qualifications necessary to be exempt from Minnesota’s overtime laws. However, simply changing an employee’s title or offering a "promotion" doesn’t take away an employer’s obligation to pay overtime.

Misclassifying workers as "exempt" from rights to minimum wage, overtime and other protections is illegal and can result in fines and up to twice as much as the back wages owed to employees.

The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) has compiled information about which employees can be considered exempt and what qualifications they must meet. Learn more at dli.mn.gov/worker-exemptions.

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Looking for content? Let’s collaborate

DLI has partnered with Foodservice News, a local online publication that writes articles related to the restaurant and food service industry, to provide bimonthly overviews about Minnesota’s labor and employment laws.

Our agency is seeking partnerships with other organizations, including employers, to provide content for newsletters, websites, emailed content and more. Interested in partnering? Contact Dave Skovholt at david.skovholt@state.mn.us.

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Save the date:  Construction industry-related labor standards requirements webinar

DLI's Labor Standards unit is providing a series of webinars to help workers and employers better understand the state's wage and hour laws.

The April 18 webinar will cover construction industry-related labor standards requirements, including, prevailing wage, construction worker classification and common construction industry labor standards mistakes and how to prevent them.

To learn more and register, visit dli.mn.gov/events.

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We're hiring

DLI is hiring a labor investigator. This position investigates violations and administers and enforces the provisions of the state’s labor standards laws. The deadline to apply is March 27. For more information, visit https://bit.ly/3JvLoUN.


Labor Standards serves the people of Minnesota by providing
information about the state's wage, hour and employment laws.

Phone:  651-284-5075 or 800-342-5354
Email:  dli.laborstandards@state.mn.us
Website:  dli.mn.gov/laborlaw