Compliance Watch:
What are my rights as a salaried employee in Alaska?

April 11th 2024

Navigating the employment landscape in Alaska necessitates a fundamental understanding of the rights that come with being a salaried employee. From minimum wage regulations to overtime pay and from work hours to vacation days, it’s crucial to be well-versed with the legal frameworks that guide employment in the state. In this comprehensive article, we aim to shed light on the key rights of salaried employees in Alaska, providing a straightforward guide that outlines the fundamental protections and entitlements provided under both state and federal law.

This Article Covers

Defining a Salaried Employee in Alaska
Common Questions About Salaried Employee Rights in Alaska
Understanding Exempt vs. Non-Exempt Status in Alaska
Wage and Hour Regulations in Alaska
Deductions, Benefits, and Protections in Alaska
Taking Action Against Violations in Alaska
Case Studies and Real-Life Scenarios of Salaried Employee Rights Violations in Alaska

Defining a Salaried Employee in Alaska

What is Salaried Employment in Alaska?

Salaried employment in Alaska refers to a type of employment in which individuals are paid a fixed regular payment, typically bi-weekly or monthly, rather than being paid hourly for the work they do. This fixed salary is agreed upon when the salaried employee is hired and is not directly tied to the actual number of hours worked. In some instances, salaried employees may work more or less than the typical 40-hour workweek, yet their pay remains constant.

Alaska, being the largest state in the United States, hosts a diverse range of industries that employ salaried workers. Key sectors include the oil and gas industry, fishing, tourism, and retail, among others. Despite its vast geographical size, Alaska has a relatively small population, but numerous opportunities exist for salaried employment across different sectors. In larger cities like Anchorage and Juneau, there’s a particularly broad array of opportunities.

The rights and obligations of salaried employees in Alaska are guided by both federal and state laws. The U.S. Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets the baseline for employment standards, such as minimum wage and overtime pay, while Alaska state laws may provide additional protections and standards. Salaried workers in Alaska must be aware of these laws to understand their rights regarding compensation, working hours, and workplace conditions. Salaried employees might be classified as exempt or non-exempt from overtime pay, depending on the job duties and salary level, which is an important distinction to understand.

In terms of benefits, salaried employees in Alaska may receive various forms of compensation beyond the regular pay. This might include health insurance, retirement plan contributions, paid vacation, and others determined by the employer. These benefits can vary widely between companies and sectors, with some industries offering more comprehensive packages to attract skilled workers. Understanding these benefits is a crucial aspect of salaried employment.

Alaska’s economy and employment landscape have unique characteristics due to its geographical location, climate, and industry composition. The seasonal nature of certain sectors, like fishing and tourism, means that opportunities might fluctuate throughout the year. Similarly, the oil and gas industry, which is a significant contributor to the state’s economy, might offer many roles that are influenced by global energy markets and environmental policies.

What are the Key Differences Between Salaried and Hourly Employees in Alaska?

Key Differences Salaried Employee Hourly Employee
Pay Basis Fixed, regular payment, not typically affected by hours worked in a week. Pay is based on the actual number of hours worked.
Overtime Pay Generally exempt, but depends on salary level and job duties according to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Typically entitled to overtime pay for hours worked beyond the standard 40 hours in a workweek.
Pay Frequency Often paid bi-weekly or monthly. Typically paid weekly or bi-weekly.
Job Stability May have perceived stability due to consistent pay. Stability depends on work hours and may fluctuate.
Benefits Might receive benefits like paid leave (annually), health insurance, retirement contributions, etc.  May or may not receive additional benefits, depending on employer and work hours.
Minimum Wage Not directly applicable, but annual salary must equate to at least the minimum hourly wage for all worked hours. Must be paid at least the Alaska state or federal standard minimum wage, whichever is higher.
Working Hours May work more or fewer hours without impacting pay, depending on exempt status by the employer. Work hours of the hourly employee directly correlate to pay and are often strictly monitored.
Flexibility Might have more flexibility in work hours, depending on the role and company. Usually have specified work hours and shifts.

Please note that this table outlines general differences between salaried and hourly employees in Alaska. The specific circumstances for each category of employees can vary widely based on the employer, industry, job classification, and individual agreements. It’s important to consider these factors when making employment-related decisions or comparisons in the state of Alaska.

To learn more about Alaska labor laws, you can access our informative guides to understand your rights as an hourly employee in Alaska or discover how to run payroll in Alaska.

Common Questions About Salaried Employee Rights in Alaska

What are the Basic Rights of Salaried Employees in Alaska?

Alaska has a set of rights that protect the interests of salaried employees. These include:

  • Minimum Salary and Overtime: In Alaska, salaried employees have rights regarding their earnings and work hours. They must receive a minimum salary level, and their employer must adhere to federal and Alaska state laws regarding pay and overtime. While certain salaried employees, categorized as “exempt,” may not be entitled to overtime pay, “non-exempt” employees should receive overtime for hours worked beyond the standard workweek. The distinction between exempt and non-exempt status is determined by salary and job duties.
  • Safe and Non-Discriminatory Workplace: All employees in Alaska are entitled to a work environment that is safe and free from any form of discrimination/harassment. Employers must adhere to guidelines that protect salaried employees against workplace hazards and unsafe practices. Additionally, no employee should face discrimination based on attributes such as age, gender, race, religion, or disability. The law ensures that employees have the right to report unsafe or discriminatory practices without fear of retaliation from the employer.
  • Family and Medical Leave: Salaried employees have the right to take leave for family and medical reasons under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Eligible employees can avail themselves of up to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave in 12 months for specified reasons like the birth of a child, to care for a spouse with a serious health condition, or the employee’s serious health condition, ensuring that their job is protected during their absence.
  • Regular Paydays and Transparent Pay Statements: In Alaska, employers are obligated to pay salaried workers on regular, predetermined paydays and provide clear, understandable pay statements. These statements should include detailed information about the pay period, deductions, and net pay. If there are any discrepancies or issues with the salary, employees have the right to query and challenge their employers to ensure accurate and fair compensation.
  • Privacy Rights: Salaried employees in Alaska also have the right to privacy in the workplace. This means employers generally cannot conduct searches of employees’ personal belongings (like handbags, vehicles, etc.) without consent, nor can they monitor employees’ personal conversations. Employers must also protect sensitive employee data, such as social security numbers and medical information, from unauthorized access or any sort of disclosure.
  • Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining: Salaried employees in Alaska have the right to organize, form, join, or assist labor organizations, bargain collectively through legal  representatives of their own choosing, and engage in concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection. Employers are not allowed to discourage or impede these activities within the boundaries of the law, ensuring workers’ voices are heard.

Understanding and exercising these rights help ensure a balanced and lawful relationship between salaried employees and employers, safeguarding the interests of both parties.

Is Overtime Pay Applicable to Salaried Employees in Alaska?

Just like other states, in Alaska, the application of overtime pay to salaried employees can depend on several factors, primarily hinting on whether the employee is classified as “exempt” or “non-exempt” under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Alaska Wage and Hour Act.

  • Exempt Employees: Exempt employees are typically salaried individuals who, due to their compensation level and the nature of their job duties, are exempt from receiving overtime pay. According to the FLSA, for an employee to be considered exempt, they must usually meet certain tests regarding their job duties and be paid on a salary basis at not less than $938.40 per week or $48,796.80 per year. These job duties might involve high-level administrative, executive, or professional tasks.
  • Non-Exempt Employees: Contrastingly, non-exempt employees are eligible to receive overtime pay. In Alaska, these employees should be paid at a rate of one and one-half times the regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40. This applies even if they are salaried, as long as their job duties do not qualify them for an exemption under the FLSA and Alaska state law.

Moreover, employers and employees alike need to be aware that specific rules and exceptions might apply to different industries or positions. Therefore, it’s recommended to consult with a labor law professional or the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development (DOLWD) for proper, accurate advice tailored to individual circumstances.

While some salaried employees in Alaska—those classified as exempt—may not be eligible for overtime pay due to the nature of the roles and compensation, others—non-exempt employees—should receive overtime pay following state and federal law.

Can Employers Deduct Wages from Salaried Employees?

The topic of whether employers can deduct wages from salaried employees is shaped by both federal and state regulations. Generally, employers can make certain deductions from an employee’s wages, but there are clear rules in place to protect workers from unfair pay practices.

Legally Permitted Deductions

Employers are allowed to make specific deductions from an employee’s salary, even if they are salaried, under certain circumstances. These legally permitted deductions often include:

  • Taxes: Employers are required to withhold federal and state taxes, along with Social Security and Medicare contributions, in compliance with existing statutory regulations in the state.
  • Benefits: Deductions for health insurance premiums, retirement contributions, or other employee benefit programs, assuming the employee has voluntarily enrolled or agreed to them.
  • Wage Garnishments: Employers may be required to withhold a portion of an employee’s wages to pay debts, such as child support or student loans if they are ordered to do so by a court.

Unlawful Deductions

On the flip side, there are stringent limitations on when an employer can make deductions from the pay of a salaried employee that are not required by law. Here are the general scenarios:

  • Faulty Work: Employers usually cannot make deductions for losses caused by a salaried employee’s faulty work, mistakes, or negligence, ensuring financial stability for employees.
  • Shortages or Damages: Employers cannot make deductions for cash shortages, property damages, or lost items unless the employee acted with negligence or intent to cause the loss.

Exempt vs. Non-Exempt Employees

It’s also crucial to be mindful of the distinction between exempt and non-exempt employees when discussing salary deductions. Exempt salaried employees, who generally perform specific managerial, administrative, or professional functions and earn above a certain salary threshold, should receive full salary every pay period, with limited exceptions. Deducting their wages might jeopardize their exempt status, potentially making them eligible for overtime pay. Non-exempt employees, whether hourly or salaried, are subjected to different rules regarding pay deductions.

Special State Rules

Some states around the country have particular rules around wage deductions, so it’s recommended to consult Alaska’s state-specific labor laws or the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development (DOLWD) for guidelines on permitted and prohibited deductions.

Are Salaried Employees Eligible for Breaks and Leaves in Alaska?

In Alaska, salaried employees are subject to certain guidelines concerning breaks and leaves. State law doesn’t mandate meal or rest breaks, although if an employer provides short breaks, federal law requires they be paid, ensuring consistent compensation during breaks.

Regarding leaves, there is no state requirement for providing vacation or sick leave, but if an employer opts to provide these, they must adhere to their own policies or employment contracts. Under the FMLA, eligible salaried employees are entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for specific reasons. Leaves for jury duty and military service are protected under state and federal laws respectively, while paid leave for national voting is encouraged but not mandatory. 

At the end of the day, it’s crucial to refer to specific employer policies and applicable employment contracts to understand individual rights and entitlements in these contexts.

Can Salaried Employees Request Flexible Work Arrangements in Alaska?

The initiative to request a flexible work arrangement often depends on the policies and culture of the individual employer. Some employers might have explicit policies or practices that facilitate different work arrangements, such as remote work, flextime, or part-time schedules, to accommodate the diverse needs of their workforce. It’s prudent for employees to explore the company handbook or speak directly with HR to understand the specific parameters and protocols associated with requesting altered work schedules within the organization.

While employer policies play a pivotal role, there are also legal considerations that may influence the availability and implementation of flexible work arrangements. For instance, under certain circumstances, employees may seek flexible schedules as a form of reasonable accommodation under laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In scenarios where an employee has a qualifying disability, employers may be required to modify work schedules unless it causes undue hardship to the organization. Similarly, other federal or state laws might provide certain protections or allow for flexible scheduling for specific situations, such as medical treatments or family care, under acts like the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

It’s also worth noting that various employers might have different stances on flexible work arrangements depending on the nature of the job, the operational needs of the business, and the employee’s role and responsibilities. Some positions might naturally lend themselves to flexible or remote work, while others may not be as adaptable. Engaging in an open, transparent dialogue with employers or supervisors about the need and reasoning for a flexible work arrangement while also showcasing a plan that ensures the continuity and quality of work can be a constructive step toward exploring potential adaptabilities in work scheduling.

Understanding Exempt vs. Non-Exempt Status in Alaska

What is the Definition and Implications of Exempt Status in Alaska?

Exempt status for employees in Alaska refers to a specific classification of employment that is exempt, meaning not subject to certain wage and hour laws. When a salaried employee is classified as “exempt,” it essentially means they are not eligible for receiving overtime pay, which is typically one and a half times the regular pay rate, for any hours worked over 40 in a workweek. This exemption is primarily grounded in both federal and state laws.

Being classified as an exempt employee in Alaska carries various implications, particularly related to compensation, working hours, and other employment conditions. It’s crucial to comprehend these nuances as they directly impact the work-life of an employee’s profession.

One of the main implications of exempt status is the matter of overtime pay. Exempt employees typically do not receive overtime pay for hours worked over 40 in a workweek, which is a stark contrast to non-exempt employees who are entitled to one and a half times their regular rate of pay for any overtime work. So, if you’re an exempt employee and you work more than the standard workweek, you usually won’t see additional compensation for those extra hours.

Moreover, exempt employees are generally paid a fixed salary, which is a fixed amount, regardless of the actual number of hours worked. This salary must also meet a certain threshold to maintain exempt status. Unlike non-exempt employees, who are paid based on the actual hours worked and receive additional overtime pay, exempt employees receive the same amount regularly, whether they work more or fewer hours than the standard workweek.

Another important implication pertains to duties and responsibilities. Exempt status often comes with different expectations regarding job roles compared to non-exempt positions. Exempt employees might hold managerial, administrative, or professional roles and might have more responsibilities, including supervising other employees, making decisions that impact the business, and performing tasks that require specialized education, skill, or expertise.

It’s also noteworthy that exempt employees might not be covered by certain protections offered by federal and state wage and hour laws. It means that while exempt employees must be paid at least the salary threshold, there aren’t requirements for how much they must be paid per hour, allowing for more flexibility in scheduling and job duties without impacting compensation.

What are the Differences Between Exempt and Non-Exempt Salaried Employees in Alaska?

Key Differences Exempt Employee Non-Exempt Employee
Overtime Pay Typically not entitled to overtime pay. Entitled to overtime pay (1.5 times the regular rate for hours worked over standard 40 hours per week)
Salary Basis Receive a fixed salary, not impacted by the number of hours worked or the quality of work delivered. Receive a salary, but it is calculated based on actual hours worked and can include overtime.
Minimum Salary Must meet a specific salary threshold to qualify as exempt. Not bound by the same salary threshold as exempt employees.
Job Duties Often involve high-level administrative, executive, or professional functions. Can encompass a wide range of duties, not necessarily managerial or administrative.
Work Hours May be expected to work as many hours as needed to fulfill job duties without additional pay for extra hours worked. Hours are typically tracked, and overtime is paid for hours worked beyond the standard workweek.
Legal Protections May not be covered by all provisions of wage and hour laws (like minimum wage or overtime provisions). Generally covered by federal and state wage and hour laws, including overtime and minimum wage protections.
Leave and Breaks Not explicitly covered by federal regulations regarding breaks and leave; depends on employer policy. Breaks and leave may be more structured and in alignment with federal and state laws.
Benefits Might have different benefits structures due to the salaried nature of the employment. Benefits might be structured differently, possibly with more emphasis on hourly work and overtime.

Please note that employment laws in Alaska are dynamic. The above table provides a general comparison of the basic definitions, entitlements, protections, and other distinctions between exempt and non-exempt employees in Alaska. However, it’s important to consult the latest state and federal regulations or seek legal advice from a professional for more up-to-date information.

How to Determine if You’re Exempt or Non-Exempt in Alaska?

Determining your employment status, whether exempt or non-exempt, in Alaska involves considering a few essential factors that come down to your salary, the nature of your job duties, and how your wages are calculated. Understanding these classifications is vital because they dictate your eligibility for things like overtime pay and potentially other employment conditions.

The first thing to look at is your pay. Exempt employees are typically salaried, meaning they earn a fixed amount regardless of the number of hours worked. There’s usually a minimum salary threshold that you must meet to qualify for exempt status. Under the FLSA, the threshold is $938.40 per week (equivalent to $ $48,796.80 annually) for a full-year worker. However, state or specific industry standards might adjust this, and it’s advisable to check the most recent guidelines via the Department of Labor’s website or by consulting with an HR professional.

Next, consider your job duties. The FLSA identifies certain types of work, like executive, administrative, and professional duties, as typically qualifying for exempt status. This might involve supervising others, making decisions that significantly impact the business, or specialized tasks that require a particular education or training. Here’s a basic breakdown:

  • Executive Exemption: If your job role involves managing a department or subdivision and you regularly supervise at least two other full-time salaried employees or their equivalent and have the authority to hire, fire, or make significant changes to other employees’ job status, you might qualify for an executive exemption, ensuring specific Alaska labor law applications.
  • Administrative Exemption: If your primary duties are non-manual and involve managing the general business operations or administrative functions of the employer or the employer’s clients/customers, making independent decisions on matters of significance, you might be classified under an administrative exemption, influencing your overtime eligibility.
  • Professional Exemption: If your job requires specialized education and involves work that is primarily intellectual and requires the exercise of discretion and judgment, you might fall under the professional exemption, affecting wage calculations.

Another significant point of consideration is how your pay is calculated. Exempt employees receive the same salary every pay period (usually monthly), irrespective of the quantity or quality of the work. Conversely, non-exempt employees are paid for every hour they work and receive overtime pay for hours worked beyond the standard 40-hour workweek.

If you’re uncertain about your status, the best first step is to check your employment contract and any employee documentation you received when you were hired or during your employment. Your employer’s human resources department should also be able to clarify your status. Additionally, seeking professional advice, particularly if you believe you might be misclassified, is a sound approach to ensuring that your employment status accurately reflects your role and responsibilities and that you’re being compensated fairly and lawfully.

Wage and Hour Regulations in Alaska

What are the Minimum Wage Requirements for Salaried Employees in Alaska?

Understanding the minimum wage requirements is crucial for all salaried employees in Alaska, ensuring that it adheres to the legal standards set by the state. Effective January 1, 2024, the minimum wage in Alaska is set at $11.73 per hour.

Now, when we relate this to salaried employees, there’s a bit of additional calculation to consider. Salaried workers are typically paid a fixed amount regularly (like weekly or bi-weekly) instead of an hourly rate. However, their salary must still equate to at least the minimum wage when broken down into an hourly format. For instance, if a salaried employee works 40 hours a week, their weekly salary must be at least $469.2 (40 hours x $11.73/hour) before any applicable deductions. Annually, this should total up to at least $24,398.4.

On the other hand, it’s crucial to note that some salaried employees in Alaska might be exempt from the minimum wage requirement, particularly those classified under executive, administrative, or professional exemptions. These workers might earn a salary that is higher than the calculated yearly amount based on the minimum wage, ensuring fair compensation. 

In practical terms, what this means is if you’re a salaried employee in Alaska, ensuring your annual salary is at least equivalent to the state’s minimum wage for the total hours you work is extremely pivotal. If discrepancies are noted, it’s imperative to raise the matter with your employer or human resources department and, if necessary, seek further advice or intervention.


How is Overtime Compensated for Salaried Employees in Alaska?

Overtime compensation is a crucial aspect of employment law that ensures workers in Alaska are properly compensated for additional hours worked. The fundamental principle for overtime compensation indicates that if an employee works more than 8 hours in a single day and/or more than 40 hours in a single workweek, they should receive one-and-a-half times (often referred to as “time-and-a-half”) their regular hourly wage for those additional hours.

When it comes to salaried employees, understanding overtime compensation might require a bit more nuance and careful consideration. Not all salaried employees are eligible for overtime pay due to exemptions. However, for those non-exempt salaried employees who do qualify, calculating the overtime can be done by determining their equivalent hourly rate.

To calculate the equivalent hourly rate, divide the annual salary by the total number of work hours in a year. Once the hourly rate is established, any overtime worked is paid at 1.5 times this calculated rate. For example, if you’re a salaried employee earning $40,000 annually and work a standard 40-hour week, your equivalent hourly rate would be approximately $19.23. Therefore, your overtime rate would be $28.85 per hour (1.5 times the regular rate).

Note that some salaried employees, those who fall under specific exemptions like the executive, administrative, or professional categories, may not be eligible for overtime compensation, even if they work more than 40 hours a week. The specific details of these exemptions can be found within federal and state labor law guidelines and generally relate to the nature of the work performed, the level of decision-making authority, and the minimum salary threshold.

If you find yourself in a situation where you believe you are not being adequately compensated for overtime as a salaried employee in Alaska, or if you have any queries regarding your eligibility for overtime pay, it’s advisable to reach out to the Wage and Hour Office at (907) 269-4900. Alternatively, speaking with a labor law attorney or a professional familiar with Alaska’s employment laws could provide additional clarity and support in such a matter.


Deductions, Benefits, and Protections in Alaska

What are the Permissible Deductions from Salaried Employee Pay in Alaska?

In Alaska, understanding permissible deductions from a salaried employee’s pay is crucial to ensure compliance with state and federal labor laws and safeguard the financial well-being of the employee. These deductions can generally be classified into two categories: legally required deductions and voluntary deductions. Legally required deductions are those that an employer is mandated to subtract from an employee’s paycheck. These deductions typically include:

  • Federal Income Tax: Deducted based on the employee’s W-4 form allowances.
  • State Income Tax: Alaska does not levy a state income tax, so this is not applicable.
  • Social Security and Medicare Tax: Commonly referred to as Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes, these are mandatory for most employees.
  • Garnishments: These are court-ordered deductions, such as for child support or unpaid debts.

On the other hand, voluntary deductions are those that the employee agrees to and include:

  • Health Insurance Premiums: Some part of the insurance premium might be paid by the employer, and some might be deducted from the salaried employee’s monthly paycheck.
  • Retirement Contributions: Contributions to a 401(k) or other retirement plan.
  • Life Insurance Premiums: If an employee opts for life insurance through their employer.
  • Union Dues: If the workplace has a union and the salaried employee is a member.

It’s essential to note that employers in Alaska cannot deduct money for items like cash register shortages, damaged equipment, or customer walk-outs without a written agreement with the salaried employee. Even with an agreement, these deductions cannot lower the employee’s pay below the minimum wage, nor can they significantly impact the employee’s livelihood.

Alaska also has strict laws regarding the final paycheck. If an employee is terminated or laid off, they must receive the final paycheck within three working days. If an employee resigns, the final paycheck is due on the next regular payday or within three working days, whichever is earlier.

Always be sure to scrutinize your pay stub and make sure all deductions are accurate and agreed upon. If you notice any inconsistencies or have concerns about specific deductions, addressing these with your HR department or employer is essential to safeguard your earnings. Suppose satisfactory explanations or corrections are not made. In that case, seeking advice from a labor board or an employment lawyer might be the subsequent step to ensure your rights as an employee are duly protected. Remember, staying informed about your rights and the relevant state and federal laws will empower you to maintain financial stability and fairness in the workplace.

What are the Provided Employee Benefits and Protections Under Alaska State Law?

  • Alaska Wage and Hour Act: This act ensures that employees are paid at least the state minimum wage and receive overtime pay for hours worked over 8 in a day or 40 in a week. It protects against unlawful wage deductions and mandates prompt payment of wages.
  • Alaska Family Leave Act (AFLA): So, the Alaska Family Leave Act (AFLA) is designed to provide eligible employees with up to 18 weeks of unpaid leave in 24 months for childbirth, adoption, or serious health conditions of the employee or the employee’s child, spouse, or parent. Salaried employees have the right to return to their job or a comparable position after the leave, and their job benefits and seniority are protected during this time.
  • Alaska Workers’ Compensation Act: If an employee gets injured or becomes ill due to work-related circumstances, this ensures they receive compensation for medical care and lost wages. Employers are required to have workers’ compensation insurance to cover these costs.
  • Employment Preference for Alaska Veterans: Alaska gives a hiring preference to veterans, including disabled veterans, and to the spouses of disabled or deceased veterans. This means that when applying for state jobs, they are given certain advantages in the hiring process.
  • Whistleblower Protection Act: Employees who report a violation of state or federal laws are protected from retaliation under this act. This includes protection from being fired, demoted, or subjected to any other form of discrimination due to their whistleblower activities.
  • Alaska Human Rights Law: This law prohibits discrimination in employment based on race, religion, color, national origin, age, sex, physical or mental disability, marital status, changes in marital status, pregnancy, or parenthood. Employers cannot make employment decisions in Alaska, such as hiring, firing, or promoting, based on these protected classifications.
  • Unemployment Insurance: If an employee loses their job through no fault of their own, they may be eligible for unemployment benefits in Alaska. This program provides temporary financial assistance to help unemployed workers pay the bills while looking for a new job.

Understanding these laws and the protections they offer is essential for salaried employees in Alaska. If you think your rights are being violated, seek advice or assistance from appropriate state agencies or legal counsel to ensure you’re adequately protected and compensated.

Taking Action Against Violations in Alaska

How to Report Violations to Authorities or the Alaska Division of Labor?

In Alaska, if you encounter labor law violations or workplace issues, take adequate steps to ensure your rights, and those of your colleagues, are protected. Initially, gather solid evidence of the violation: this could encompass keeping logs of unpaid overtime, documenting unsafe working conditions, or preserving communications that demonstrate discriminatory practices.

Although it might be helpful to address the concern with your employer or HR initially, if you’re comfortable doing so, it’s not obligatory, especially if the issue is of a serious or urgent nature. 

Should internal communications not resolve the issue or if the violation requires immediate attention, contacting the Alaska Division of Labor and Workforce Development (DOLWD) becomes a prudent step. You can do this through various means, such as by phone, email, or in-person, to detail your grievance, ensuring you provide all evidence to build a solid case. 

Remember that consulting a local labor attorney can further guide you through the process, ensuring you navigate the reporting of the case with additional assurance and support.

Case Studies and Real-Life Scenarios of Salaried Employee Rights Violations in Alaska

Discriminatory Denial of Promotion: Northern Star to Pay Female Employee $690,000 in Settlement for Discriminatory Denial of Promotions

In an unfolding event in Fairbanks, Alaska, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced a significant settlement involving Northern Star (Pogo) LLC, previously recognized as Sumitomo Metal Mining Pogo, LLC, agreeing to pay $690,000 and implement pivotal changes to settle a lawsuit pertaining to sex discrimination and retaliation.

Hanna Hurst, who was among the few female underground miners under the former ownership of Sumitomo Metal Mining Pogo, experienced denial of promotions while her male colleagues, even those with lesser seniority or training, were advanced. Hurst’s complaint regarding the unjust treatment met with retaliation from Sumitomo Metal Mining Pogo, who imposed additional training requirements on her that were not mandated for male miners.

This conduct violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits promotion denial based on sex. The EEOC, after conducting an investigation spearheaded by EEOC Investigator Bryne Moore and attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement via its voluntary conciliation process, moved the case to the District of Alaska [Case No. 4:18-cv-00034-JWS]. Hurst was represented by the non-profit Equal Rights Advocates.

The three-year consent decree that settled the lawsuit will compensate Hurst with $690,000 in lost wages and compensatory damages. It also mandates Pogo to engage an independent expert to assess, create, and implement policies, procedures, and training to uphold equal employment and increase accountability and oversight of its managers and supervisors. Alongside the expert, the mining company will provide anti-discrimination training to all leaders and staff; make its EEO policy available to all employees and applicants; report all sex or gender discrimination or retaliation complaints from its employees to the EEOC for the upcoming three years; and post a notice informing employees about the consent decree and their rights under federal law.

Key Takeaways from the Case:

  • Employers are reminded of the critical importance of adhering to state and federal anti-discrimination laws and ensuring that the workplace is shielded from discrimination.
  • The settlement serves as a reminder of the substantial financial and reputational costs that can result from violating labor and employment laws in Alaska or anywhere in the United States. 
  • Establishing clear, equitable promotion and training policies, alongside ensuring no retaliatory practices are in place, is pivotal in safeguarding organizational integrity and employee rights.

Child Labor Violation: Alaska Grocery Store Penalized $20,490 Following U.S. Department of Labor Investigation

In Fairbanks, Alaska, a probing investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has culminated in the imposition of $20,490 in civil penalties upon the Alaska Commercial Company, which operates 33 grocery and general merchandise stores across the state, for pervasive child labour violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

The Anchorage-based company was found to have employed 30 minors in violation of the time standards set by the FLSA. These underage employees were working beyond permissible hours: over 8 hours daily and 40 hours weekly during non-school periods and exceeding 3 hours daily and 18 hours weekly during school – all clear FLSA violations.  Additional infringements were identified when numerous minors worked outside of allowable hours, before 7 a.m. and after 7 p.m., from Labor Day through to June 1 and beyond 9 p.m. between June 1 and Labor Day.

Lessons and Reminders for Employers:

  • The case underscores the imperative nature of complying with child labor laws and the FLSA, reminding employers of the significant penalties associated with non-compliance.
  • Employers should utilize this event as a catalyst to scrutinize employment practices, ensuring adherence to legal stipulations and safeguarding the welfare and rights of young employees.
  • Utilizing resources offered by the Department of Labor, including online videos, confidential consultations at local Wage and Hour Division (WHD) offices, and various tools available on their website, employers can enhance their understanding and compliance with federal law.

For additional information and resources, employers and employees alike are encouraged to connect with WHD through their toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or explore WHD, a search tool for workers who may be entitled to back wages accumulated by WHD.

Final Thoughts

Understanding your rights as a salaried employee in Alaska is crucial for ensuring fair treatment in the workplace. Knowledge about wage requirements, overtime compensation, permissible deductions, and legally mandated benefits and protections can provide a solid foundation for advocating for your needs. Remember that in the dynamic employee-employer relationship, remaining informed and vigilant safeguards your interests, promotes a conducive working environment, and contributes positively to your overall career trajectory and job satisfaction.

Important Cautionary Note

This content is provided for informational purposes only. While we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information presented, we cannot guarantee that it is free of errors or omissions. Users are advised to independently verify any critical information and should not solely rely on the content provided.