The News: Overtime Pay Lawsuit at Blackstone

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Just because you work in an office doesn't mean you're exempt from labor laws meant to protect hourly workers - even if your employer says you are.

The latest indication comes in a Boston lawsuit brought by an administrative assistant at Blackstone Group. Reuters reports Hope Smith sued the private equity firm for not paying her overtime beyond 40 hours when supervisors required her as many as 50 hours per week. Blackstone claimed Smith's position as "lead administrative assistant" made her exempt from the U.S. requirement to pay overtime, the suit says. It seeks class-action status covering all Blackstone employees holding that position. Smith also claims in the lawsuit she was "illegally demoted" in August 2009 due to pregnancy.

The popular belief that only hourly or blue-collar workers are entitled to extra pay for longer work weeks is a myth. In reality, federal law sets out very specific criteria that must be satisfied to make a particular job "exempt" from overtime pay.

But professionals in financial services or any other industry don't have much incentive to assert their rights, since becoming known as a litigious employee almost always forces a person to switch industries and careers.

Lawsuit Claims Blackstone Underpaid Assistants [Reuters]

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