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Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore

Local News Reporters

News Main Street

If you work more than 40 hours a week as a local news reporter in Connecticut and are salaried, you may assume that your job status makes your occupation exempt from FSLA requirements. Indeed, many writers are exempt under FLSA  due to their status as an exempt creative professional. However, some journalists, including some local news reporters, do not qualify under this exemption.

If your job as a local news reporter doesn’t require the law’s narrow definition of creative input and you are working overtime without pay, you may be owed compensation under Connecticut and federal law. An experienced Connecticut wage and hour employment lawyer can determine if your exemption is unwarranted as well as fight for the compensation your employer owes you as a nonexempt Connecticut journalist.

Connecticut Wage and Hour Lawyer for Local News Reporters

Failure to pay you appropriate compensation, including overtime, for the hours you worked as a local news reporter in Connecticut is illegal when you are not an exempt creative professional. If your job as a local news reporter in Hartford, Milford, Manchester, Bristol, New Haven, Bridgeport or the surrounding areas in Connecticut is limited to just relaying the facts and not providing any creative input, you may be incorrectly classified as an exempt creative professional. When this is the case, the skilled and passionate employment law attorneys at Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore in Hartford may be able to help you.

Backed by over two decades of employment law experience, the attorneys of Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore know what it takes to prove your classification as a nonexempt worker under federal law. They can fight to pursue the compensation you deserve as a nonexempt local news reporter. To have the skilled employment lawyers of Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore review your case, submit our confidential online contact form today.

Requirements for Creative Professional Exemption in Connecticut

Federal law, specifically the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), is very strict about the payment of appropriate wages and compensation for work done, including overtime. For hourly employees, this is a very clear process – you must earn over federal minimum wage up to 40 hours a week, after which you will earn time and a half for every hour worked overtime. However, there are a few very specific exemptions from this rule which allow companies to not pay certain salaried employees overtime.

One of these exemptions is known as the creative professional exemption, which is defined in 29 CFR § 541.302(a). This law exempts professionals whose primary duties are the performance of work requiring invention, imagination, originality, or talent in a recognized field of artistic or creative endeavor. This exemption does not include professionals who perform routine mental, manual, mechanical, or physical work or any work that can be produced by a person with general manual or intellectual ability and training.

This exemption is only applicable to professionals in a recognized field of artistic or creative endeavor, such as music, writing, acting, or the graphic arts. Given certain situations, journalists may qualify for exemption as a creative professional and are thus not eligible to receive overtime. However, this exemption doesn’t apply to all journalists, and many local news reporters may find that they are wrongfully classified as exempt.

In that case, the local news reporter who could not be classified as a creative professional would be owed any overtime compensation for time over 40 hours that he or she put in. An experienced Hartford employment lawyer can help you determine if you should be exempt as a local news reporter, as well as assist you in fighting for the compensation your employer owes you.

Connecticut Journalists and Local News Reporters as Creative Professionals

In the definition of the creative professional exemption, 29 CFR § 541.302(d) specifically defines what types of journalists may qualify for the creative professional exemption, and which types do not qualify as exempt. For a local news reporter to qualify as an exempt journalist, his or her primary duty must involve invention, imagination, originality, or talent, such as an investigative journalist might display in a news talk show or in an interview. If the local news reporter’s job relies primarily on intelligence, diligence, and accuracy, such as relaying the facts of a situation by written word or on camera, he or she is not exempt.

Many local news reporters in Connecticut are solely responsible for collecting, organizing, recording or rewriting information that is routine or already public. If that local news reporter doesn’t also contribute a unique interpretation or analysis to his or her news product, they do not qualify as an exempt creative professional. Additionally, if the local news reporter’s work is subject to substantial control by his or her employer, it will also disqualify him or her from the creative professional exemption. Examples of local news reporters who might not  be exempt include local news anchors, on-camera reporters, and news writers.

Local journalists who may be classified as an exempt creative professional include editorial writers, opinion columnists, reporters who provide commentary or narration, or those who perform investigative interviews. For instance, Bill who is an on-scene news reporter does not qualify as an exempt creative professional because his main job is to stand on camera and report the facts of the events. However, Susan is the host of a popular, local radio talk show and is an exempt creative professional because she interprets and comments on news that comes in.

Whether or not you are owed compensation as a local news reporter under FLSA due to your misclassification as an exempt creative professional depends greatly on your day-to-day job duties and the circumstances of your case. The details in these employment cases can be complicated, so the services of an experienced Hartford wage and hour employment law attorney are highly recommended.

Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore | Employment Attorneys for Local News Reporters in Hartford

If you work more than 40 hours a week as a local news reporter who just relays facts and provides no creative input and your employer claims you are exempt from overtime pay or other compensation due to your pay, contact the experienced employment law attorneys of Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore.

Serving Hartford, Manchester, Milford, Glastonbury, New Britain, Bristol, Waterbury, New Haven, Bridgeport, New London, Stamford, Meriden, Middletown, and other cities across Connecticut, the employment lawyers at Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore are backed by over a decade of combined experience serving clients like you. To submit your Connecticut whistleblower retaliation case for review by Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore, fill out and submit our confidential online contact form.