The Most Common Way Your Employer Avoid Paying Overtime

Americans are known as a very hardworking nation. Many people put in a ton of overtime at work, sacrificing the time they could spend with family or on their hobbies and fun activities and come home dog-tired for days or weeks. What is reassuring is that you will get that huge overtime income.

Then when you receive your check, it’s suspiciously light.

This is not as uncommon as you would certainly think. One sly way firms avoid paying overtime is by misclassifying staff members as exempt.

Who Is Exempt from Overtime Pay?

There are 2 types of employee categories: exempt and non-exempt.

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers are required to pay non-exempt staff members at least the minimum wage, plus time and a half for all hours worked over 40 in a week.

However some categories of employees, those that are classified as exempt, don’t receive time-and-a-half regardless of how many hours they work. Exempt staff members may include:


Despite the name, you do not have to be at the top of your firm’s management to get the executive exemption.

The bare minimum qualification is making at least $455 a week on a wage basis, leading a division or department, supervising a group of at the very least 2 people, as well as having the authority to hire and fire.

While this summary includes C-level executives, it might additionally describe lower-level managers and supervisors, depending on your business as well as duties.

Administrative Workers

Management employees that are exempt should also make at least $455 a week on a wage or salary basis. Their major work responsibilities might include administrative office management, along with the exercise of discretion and also independent judgment relative to matters of significance. Taking into account the broadness of this description, companies are set loose when determining who is exempt and who isn’t.

Learned or Creative Professionals

There are 2 types of professional exemptions: “Learned professional” and “creative professional”.

Learned professionals rely on sophisticated knowledge in an area (such as scientific research) acquired throughout a duration of long term study to do their task. Creative professionals carry out duties including creativity and initial creation in an acknowledged imaginative field.

Both of these need to make at least $455 each week on salary to be considered exempt.

Computer Employees

There’s a lengthy checklist of the specific tasks as well as task titles appropriate to employees under this classification, but the idea is that if you work with computer systems, hardware or code all day, you most likely fall under this heading.

This is one of the few categories that can be either per hour or wage to be considered exempt. If  you have a fixed salary, you have to make a minimum of $455 a week to qualify. If you have an hourly rate, you must be paid at least $27.63 per hour.

Outside Salespeople

To be considered an “outside salesperson”, your primary responsibilities must consist of selling products, services or agreements — off your company’s location. If you spend a lot of time on the road making sales, you’re most likely an outside salesperson.

What to Do if You Think You’re Being Misclassified

When it comes to classifying who is or isn’t exempt, your work obligations matter more than your title. So if your title includes “outside sales” yet you hardly ever leave your office, you might have a misclassification trouble.

It’s illegal to fire a person for bringing this error up, so it’s OK to go after the discussion with your HR manager.

If it’s clear to you that your employer is misclassifying you and also isn’t intending to deal with the issue or reimburse you, you might need to seek legal help. The Chattanooga employment law attorneys of McKoon, Williams, Atchley & Stanley, PLLC,  have decades of experience representing public and private sector employees throughout Tennessee. Our employment law attorneys in Chattanooga handle state and federal court litigation, including trials, appeals, mediations, arbitrations, and settlements. Contact us today if you have any questions regarding the employment law. 

Where Does Your Debt Go When You’re Gone?

Any kind of debts you leave when you pass away can eliminate the assets that you had hoped to leave to heirs. Sometimes, member of the family might also be on the hook of your debt. Many individuals buy life insurance policy not just to leave something behind for their beloved ones but also to aid deal with any kind of debt and also last expenses.

Your debts become the obligation of your estate after you die. Your estate is every little thing you owned at the time of your death. The procedure of paying your costs and also distributing what remains is called probate.

The executor of your estate, the individual responsible for handling your will and estate after your death, will certainly use your properties to repay your debts. This can suggest creating checks from a bank account or selling home to get some cash. If there are no sufficient means to cover your debts, creditors generally are out of good luck.

On the other hand, particular types of debs can become other people’s burden.


If there’s a joint homeowner or if someone inherits your house, this person will be responsible for your debts. Yet federal regulation bars lenders from forcing a joint owner to repay the mortgage instantly after the death of the co-owner. If there’s no joint property owner, the executor can pay the mortgage out of the estate. If there’s not enough money in the estate, a family member who inherits the house can simply take over the mortgage payments.

Home Equity Loan

The same goes for a home equity loan if somebody inherits it. A lender can require him/her to repay the loan instantly, which might imply selling the house. That said, lenders may work with new owners to let them simply take control of the settlements on the home-equity loan.

Credit Cards

If the estate runs out of assets to pay bank card balances, credit card companies run out luck due to the fact that this debt is not secured by properties the way mortgages and car loan are. Yet any type of joint account owner would be accountable for the unpaid bills. Individuals that are simply authorized users of a credit card are exempt for paying the balance.

Car Loan

The executor can also pay the car loan out of the estate. If payments stop, the loan provider can repossess the automobile. If the estate can not repay the car loan, whoever acquires the car can just proceed paying as well as the lender is unlikely to do something about it.

Student Loans

The estate must pay off personal student loan debt, however lenders have no choice if the estate does not have possessions to settle unprotected debts such as student loans. But, co-signers of private student loans will be in charge of remaining debt. Some lenders might even forgive the debt upon death, but this is not typically the case. To make sure no one will be responsible for your student loan after you pass, it’s best to use federal student loans since they are discharged upon your death. If a student’s parent has a federal PLUS loan, it will be discharged upon the death of either the parent or student.

If you need assistance with planning your estate, asset protection, or other elder law issues, contact the dedicated and skilled Chattanooga estate planning attorneys at the McKoon, Williams, Atchley & Stulce, PLLC.

Why Your Chattanooga Business Should Have A Lawyer

So you’ve saved up some money, developed your own market strategy  and created a business plan. Congratulations on your primary steps in the direction of entrepreneurship! It might have been your childhood dream, or a spontaneous decision, but now you’re finally ready to get the ball rolling. But wait!

Have you contacted a Chattanooga Business Lawyer?

It’s usual to think people only require a lawyer when something is going wrong. This is a common misunderstanding! You don’t have to wait for a catastrophe to strike to hire a lawyer. This will benefit you both in the beginning stages and also before finding yourself in an urgent state. Below is a list of reasons why every business needs a lawyer.

1. Business Entity Formation

Your business structure will determine what liabilities you deal with, just how your entity is taxed, as well as how your profits are split. Right here is a brief checklist of the various types of business structures:

  • Sole Proprietorship
  • Partnership
  • Corporation
  • S- Corporation
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC)

To learn more about this aspect, contact Mckoon, Williams, Atchley & Stulce for a free legal consultation.

2. Trademark

You can have a wonderful product or service, but get lost when it comes to picking the name. Did you know that Starbucks was nearly called “Pequod’s”? Or that Pepsi was first released as “Brad’s Drink”? However, a dull or ordinary name may just be the least of your concerns if you receive a cease and desist notice for unconsciously using somebody’s trademark.

Consulting with a lawyer first, can help you avoid this issue altogether.

At Mckoon, Williams, Atchley & Stulce, we understand that this is our work to research trademarks to make sure that you prevent infringement and to search any kind of potential issues. When your brand is developed, we will additionally assist in protecting your business’s name. Developing a trademark can be time-consuming. Having a lawyer take care of these matters can let you completely dedicate yourself to getting your new business started.

3. Contracts, Contracts, Contracts

Contracts play essential role in business, regardless of size and profits. This is a legal tool to handle sales, employees, and leases. Here are some examples:

  • Bill of Sale –  Formally specifies a property’s transfer of ownership
  • Warranty – As you may already know, a warranty compensates a customer if s/he receives a product that is defective or breaks down during its expected lifetime.
  • Employment Agreement – Though you may have discussed working conditions with an employee at the interview, this is not enough. You should have a legal document that outlines responsibilities and methods of payment to an employee.
  • Commercial Property Lease Agreement – One of the most crucial contracts you will have to sign. It’s the terms and conditions that you have with a property owner when renting out a space for your business. This concerns offices, stores, restaurants, and etc.

An experienced lawyer at your side can assist you in creating contracts to avoid potential legal issues. Mckoon, Williams, Atchley & Stulce, PLLC will additionally lobby for your benefits in the contracts you make or enter into with the third parties.

4. Exit Strategy

Individuals most likely to have attorneys prepare a will to ensure that when the day comes, any type of disputes including the succession of their properties can be avoided. A Chattanooga business lawyer can help establish an exit strategy for your business as you expand, ensuring it will continue (or dissolve) in whatever manner you choose.

5. Disputes

In an ideal world, business partners stick together, nobody generates terrible ideas, and contracts are always upheld.

Yet, this is not always the case.

If there is anything lawyers are best at, it’s settling disputes. Nevertheless, when these problems do emerge, wouldn’t you want to have a lawyer that knows you personally and understands the aspects of your business?

When things fail, you’ll already have a legal team to lobby for your best interests. Contact McKoon, Williams, Atchley & Stulce – Chattanooga lawyers experienced in  business law matters, large and small. (Please do not include any confidential information in your inquiry.)

What Should You Do If You’re Accused Of Shoplifting?

What should you do if you’re accused of shoplifting? Depending on the circumstances, it could be a minor little incident, or a potentially expensive criminal ordeal.

The amount of supposedly stolen products is a determining factor. It will influence whether  shoplifting will be met with a mere citation, or charged as a misdemeanor or even a felony. Exactly how you act when faced claimed shoplifting can also influence your case.

Here are five points to expect and also think about if you’re confronted a shoplifting accusation.

Remain Silent

Going mad could make things even worse and also often results in spoken hostility that you’ll want you might take back. Take a deep breath and count to 10 before you act or make any kind of statements. In fact, silence could be gold as just what you say could be used against you in court, so it might be best to request a Chattanooga criminal defense attorney and afterwards simply refuse to talk.

Know Your Rights

In terms of law, an owner of a store or security officers can actually detain you on suspicion of shoplifting while they wait for polices to arrive. Moreover, they have the right to check your bag or pockets for the proof of shoplifting, but should do it IMMEDIATELY and better with some independent witnesses. Otherwise, there’s a chance that somebody just planted a product on a person.

What you should also know is that they must have a strong reason that you were shoplifting, and can use only reasonable means and reasonable force to detain you. Any pressure or force that can lead to bodily injury is restricted and can serve as basis for a lawsuit down the road.

Know The Law

You do not need to actually “shoplift” to be charged. State legislations about theft differ, yet in several states, being a “lookout” or deliberately distracting bystanders’ focus away from a shoplifter could be prosecuted under shoplifting regulations. The crime of theft could likewise include changing or swapping price tags.

As for the Tennessee Law, the shoplifting or theft is defined by the following actions:

  • Concealing or removing the goods;
  • Changing or removing any price tags;
  • Removing the product from one container to another;
  • Causing a sales recording device (i.e. cash register) to show less than the actual price on a product;
  • Removing, destroying, deactivating, or evading a component of an anti-shoplifting device to commit or facilitate a theft;
  • Using an instrument, device, or container to commit or facilitate a theft; or
  • Activating or interfering with a fire alarm system to commit or facilitate a theft.

Contact A Lawyer

Criminal penalties are possible for all types of theft. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney could assist you examine proof and also obtain the most effective possible result for your particular situation. First-time founded guilty thiefs can usually get  social work or participate in an education program instead of tougher fines. In more serious shoplifting cases, a plea deal may be possible. That’s why spending some money for an attorney could possibly pay off big-time when you’re charged of theft.

If you need help with a shoplifting charge, contact a Chattanooga criminal defense lawyer immediately. McKoon, Williams, Atchley & Stanley, PLLC our Chattanooga criminal defense attorneys can protect the rights of the accused in the state and federal courts of Tennessee.  We have the resources and experience to handle a wide range of criminal charges, we are ready to step in and protect your rights as soon as possible.

Modifying Your Child Support In Chattanooga

Child support is the most controversial topic that parents fight over after divorce. Tennessee has “Child Support Guidelines” that courts should utilize to determine how much child support the parent without custody needs to pay weekly.

You can find out the amount of child support you must get with the help of Child Support Guidelines Worksheet. To fill in this worksheet, however, you will need info from the other parent’s financial statement. Since the Child Support Guidelines Worksheet has a built-in calculator you could use it to estimate how much child support the court may order. In some extraordinary circumstances, it could be a different amount.

Usually, the minimal amount of child support paid by another parent and determined by the judge is $80.00/ month. On the other hand, if a non-custodial parent has insufficient means, s/he can be discharged by the court from paying child support at all. But it doesn’t mean that one can simply quit the job not to pay. In case when another parent is unemployed, the court could order him/her to do job searches and to report his task search initiatives to the court.

Child Support: What If The Parent Has Other Children?

If the parent of your child has other children, you might get less amount of child support. Under the Child Support Guidelines, the court has to take into consideration the amount of child support the parent pays under an additional child support order before making a decision the amount of support for your child.

To find out just how this will influence your child support, you should understand how much the parent pays in support for the other children. Subtract that amount from the parent’s income before taxes. Use that number for the parent’s earnings when you use the Child Support Guidelines Worksheet to find out how much support s/he has to spend for your child.

For example, the other parent earns $200/week before taxes, and pays $50/week in support for another child. Deduct $50 from $200, and you get $150. This will be the amount to fill in the line for the parent’s weekly income when you use the Child Support Guidelines Worksheet to figure out how much support s/he must pay for your child.

Can I change my child support order to get more?

You could be able to get more child support if your “financial circumstances” have actually altered a lot from the moment of the last order. Some examples of changes that make a difference are:

  • the other parent’s income goes up by at least 20%;
  • your oldest child turns thirteen;
  • you made at least $20,000 when you got the order and also now you make less; or
  • one of your children was not living with you but has actually now moved back.

The actions to find out if the changes are sufficient to get your child support order changed are:

  • Check the Child Support Guidelines Worksheet.
  • Fill out the new information.
  • Divide the answer you get on the Worksheet or online calculator by the amount of child support you get now.
  • If the answer is 1.2 or more, you might be able to obtain a new order.

You will certainly have to submit a Complaint for Modification to request for a new child support order.

Another important step is to pass a complaint on the other parent with the help of a sheriff or constable and include summons (a document that informs the other parent that the court is going to hold a hearing. At the hearing, the court could make a new order.). If your income is low, submit an Affidavit of Indigency form to ask the state to pay the constable’s fee.

As you can see, modifying the child support is a quite complicated process which requires collecting a lot of relevant information and documents. To avoid any mess with the paperwork or confusion, it is highly recommended to get in touch with a Chattanooga family law attorney. Whether you need a child custody attorney, a divorce lawyer, are trying to prove paternity and collect child support, or are unsure exactly what all might be involved with the impending dissolution of your marriage, your Chattanooga family law attorney at McKoon, Williams, Atchley & Stanley, PLLC will protect your rights, help you pursue what is just, and ensure that your best interests are always at the fore of all proceedings.


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