ASTA Urges Caution on Employee Status Classification

ASTA has issued an advisory to its members, urging caution when reviewing the overtime compensation due employees. "Failure to pay legally-required overtime compensation for hours worked more than 40 in a week can lead to an expensive wage and hour lawsuit with the potential to bankrupt an agency,” ASTA said in a statement.

Citing an instance in which a travel franchise organization paid $2.76 million to settle a class action suit after allegedly classifying non-exempt agents as exempt to avoid the legally-required overtime compensation, ASTA urged agency owners to remain careful during the hiring process and to reevaluate the status designations of employees currently categorized as exempt. While ertain employees with managerial roles may qualify for an exempt status, most front line travel agents do not.

ASTA recommends consulting a human resource professional or an attorney specializing in employment law to aid in employee status review. In addition, ASTA members can download ASTA's white paper on employee classifications which offers helpful tips in make such determinations.