Our Colorado Overtime Exemptions and Misclassifications Attorneys Can Help You Recover Unpaid Overtime

Wage Theft Attorneys

Two important laws concerning overtime are the Colorado Overtime and Minimum Pay Standards Order (COMPS) and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Our Denver Colorado unpaid overtime lawyers have successfully recovered unpaid wages and overtime for thousands of workers who were victims of wage theft. At Coffman Legal, our Colorado overtime attorneys fight zealously and are experienced in litigating against all employers, from local businesses to large corporations. You are entitled to your unpaid overtime pay and our Colorado wage theft attorneys will fight for you.

Both Colorado Law and the FLSA state that employers must pay overtime at one and one-half times (1.5x) the employee’s regular rate of pay (also known as “time and a half”). This can become expensive for employers, but workers are still entitled to compensation for all the hours they’ve worked. When you work overtime, you must be paid for time and a half.

For a variety of reasons, employers sometimes fail to pay their workers for overtime. Whatever the reason, our Denver Colorado unpaid overtime attorneys can help you recover your unpaid wages.

How do companies violate overtime laws in Colorado?

Employers neglect or fail to pay overtime for many reasons. Some of the most common reasons are:

  • Employees are misclassified as exempt from overtime. For example, CEOs and other executives are exempt for the FLSA’s overtime protections. Employees are entitled to overtime unless employers can prove that an exemption applies.
  • Companies do not keep correctly track employee work hours
  • In the restaurant and hospitality industry, employers can underpay their tipped employees by not paying the correct overtime rate
  • Sometimes, businesses can use a rounding policy, which results in an underpayment when employees clock in and out earlier or later
  • Employees might have to do pre-shift prep work, such as donning personal protective equipment or booting up their machinery, but their employer makes them do this off the clock

If your employer owes you overtime pay, contact our Denver Colorado wage theft lawyers. The attorneys at Coffman Legal have extensive experience in litigating unpaid overtime cases.

Exemptions from Overtime Laws: Federal and State


Federal Exemptions to the FLSA’s Overtime laws are for executive employees, administrative employees, and professional employees. Additionally, these white-collar exemptions for employees only apply to employees that are paid at least $684 a week on a salary basis.  Other exemptions include independent contractors, outside salespersons, computer employees, highly compensated employees, and others. Employers frequently misclassify their employees and claim that the employee is exempt from the FLSA’s overtime regulations so that the employee is not properly paid overtime. This common practice is unlawful. Our Denver Colorado overtime misclassification attorneys can advise you on whether you are truly exempt from the FLSA, or if you are entitled to overtime pay.

Several federal exemptions to the overtime laws under the FLSA:

  1. Executive employees: (1) employees’ primary duty must be managing the enterprise or business or managing a department or subdivision of the enterprise; (2) must regularly direct the work of at least two or more full-time employees; and (3) must have the authority to hire and fire other employees, or the employee’s suggestions and recommendations relating to the hiring, firing, advancement, promotion, or other change in the status of other employees must be given particular weight.
  2. Administrative employees: (1) jobs involve non-manual labor, such as office work, that is directly related to the management of the business or general business operations; and (2) the employee’s primary duty must include the exercise of discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance, such as payroll. However, if your job primarily involves performing the service functions of the business or producing the company’s product, such as working on the manufacturing line, then you are not an administrative employee.
  3. Professional employees: (1) the primary duty must be the performance of work that requires advanced knowledge, which is work that is predominantly intellectual in character and that requires the consistent exercise of discretion and judgment, such as surgery; (2) the advanced knowledge must be in a field of science or learning; and (3) the advanced knowledge must be the type that is customarily obtained by a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction, such as a graduate program or law school. The FLSA recognizes both “learned professionals” and “creative professionals” as being eligible for the professional exemption. However, there are strict requirements to be classified as such. Some examples include attorneys, physicians (MD/DO), teachers, and engineers. Your employer can’t exempt you just because you have advanced knowledge; the job duties must require you to apply this knowledge on a regular basis as a part of your exercise of discretion and judgment.

In addition to these categories, there are specific exemptions for computer employees, outside sales employees, highly compensated employees, commissioned sales employees, drivers/helpers/mechanics/loaders of motor carriers, farmworkers, salesmen/partsmen/mechanics of automobile dealerships, seasonal and recreational establishment employees, among others.

Because exemption status is not solely determined by job title, it is important to consult with our Denver Colorado overtime exemption lawyers, who can help you to figure out if you are exempt, or if you are entitled to overtime pay.

Note: Under the FLSA, licensed practical nurses (LPN) and other similar healthcare employees are usually classified as non-exempt from the FLSA, and are therefore entitled to overtime pay.

For more information, reach out to our Denver Colorado overtime attorneys.

Colorado’s Executive, Administrative, and Professional Exemptions

Generally, Colorado law requires employers to pay one-and-a-half times an employee’s regular rate for all overtime hours. Like the FLSA, there are three categories of exemptions to that law, meaning that if an employee is within the exemption, then the employee is not protected by the state overtime laws. The exemptions are established by whether or not the employee performs exempt duties, not by their title. Colorado’s exemptions are narrower than the FLSA exemptions, meaning that more employees are likely to be protected by Colorado’s overtime laws and provisions. Additionally, there is a salary requirement that must be met for an employee to be outside of the relevant overtime laws and regulations.

As of 2022, the salary requirement is $45,000 per year ($865.38 per week), unless the employee is a doctor, lawyer, or teacher, in which case there is no required salary or hourly compensation to be exempt. For more information, reach out to our Denver Colorado COMPS overtime exemption attorneys for a FREE initial consultation regarding your claim(s) for unpaid overtime.

The three Colorado overtime exemptions to COMPS are:

  • Executives or supervisors: (1) the employee must supervise the work of at least two full-time employees; (2) have the authority to hire and fire other employees or the authority to effectively recommend hiring and firing; and (3) spend a minimum of 50% of the workweek in duties directly related to supervision (such as creating work schedules, setting wage rates, disciplining employees, overseeing operations, etc.).
  • Administrative employees: (1) the employee must directly serve an executive*, and the employee’s work must be directly related to the management or business operations of the employer’s business, usually, at least every week, such as gathering information to help the executive choose clients or participate in the employers hiring decisions; (2) regularly perform duties important to the decision-making process of the executive; (3) regularly exercise independent judgment and discretion in matters of significance, meaning that the employee; and (4) have a primary duty that is both non-manual in nature and directly related to management policies or general business operations.
  • Professional employees: the employee must be (1) employed in a field where their primary duty is work that requires the consistent exercise of discretion and judgment, as distinguished from routine work that is mental, manual, mechanical, or physical; (2) be employed in the field in which they were trained, not a field that is only similar to the field in which they were trained; and (3) be either a qualifying “learned professional” or “creative professional”.

*The term “Executive” as it relates to whether an employee is an administrative employee is a narrow definition and does not apply to low- to mid-level managers that supervise two or more employees. Therefore, an employee who directly serves a lower-level manager would not be exempt from the COMPS overtime requirements and is entitled to overtime pay.

However, the title alone does not establish an exemption. An employee’s salary and actual duties determine whether or not they qualify for an exemption. The learned professional exemption to overtime and the creative professional exemption to overtime regulations include many aspects that can be difficult to establish without counsel. Please contact our Denver professional exemption misclassification attorneys if you believe you may have a claim.

If you believe you have been misclassified, contact our Denver Colorado overtime exemption lawyers today for a FREE analysis of your case.

Employers frequently misclassify workers as independent contractors or other white-collar exempt employees

Employers are not required to pay overtime to independent contractors. Sometimes, an employer might classify their employers are independent contractors in order to avoid giving them certain benefits and rights, such as overtime pay or insurance. The FLSA doesn’t “independent contractor”, but the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the U.S. Supreme Court have their own definitions. The IRS is interested in this issue of misclassifications allow the employer to avoid its own payroll taxes. The main issue is whether the company has the “right to control” the worker. If it does, then it is likely that the worker is an employee, not an independent contractor. Our Denver Colorado employment misclassification lawyers can help determine whether you are an independent contractor (and therefore exempt from the FLSA and COMPS). Ask yourself the following questions if you are unsure whether you are truly an independent contractor.

  • Do you bring your own tools with you to the job?
  • Do you get to decide how the work will be done?
  • Do you have the right to accept or refuse to do the work?
  • Do you set your own hours?
  • Do you have a say in how much you’ll be paid?
  • Can you hire helpers if you want?
  • Are you hired to do a certain job that only lasts until the project is completed, or are you hired on an indefinite or permanent basis?
  • Do you file your taxes with 1099?

If you answered all or most of these questions with a yes, you may be an independent contractor. There is no one specific test for determining your employment status, though, so if you are unsure, call our office for a free consultation. We’ll analyze your job’s duties and characteristics and let you know if we think you are being unfairly denied overtime. Our Denver Colorado contractor overtime attorneys are ready to help with your case.

Because state law often differs from federal law, it is important consult one of our Denver Colorado overtime lawyers for a free analysis of your case. Call our Denver overtime attorneys at 720-784-7717.

Contact Coffman Legal Today