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

January 29th 2024

Learning and cultivating a deep comprehension of your rights as a salaried employee in Wyoming is a way of empowering yourself to embark on your professional journey with confidence. 

As you clock in day after day, the consistent salary you earn shapes your position within the workplace. Nevertheless, the intricacies of employment arrangements can differ fundamentally from one U.S. state to the next.

This article aims to help you understand your rights and entitlements, addressing the questions that have piqued your interest. We will delve into the nuances of your rights, steering you towards a more knowledgeable and empowered work experience tailored to the specific regulations of Wyoming. 

This Article Covers:

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

Defining a Salaried Employee in Wyoming

What is Salaried Employment in Wyoming?

A salaried employee in Wyoming is any employee who receives a fixed amount of compensation at the end of every pay period regardless of the number of hours worked, quantity of output, and the quality of their work. Salaried employees in the state can receive their pay in cash, check, or direct deposits. It’s important to note that an employer should seek their employees’ authorization before using direct deposit as their mode of salary payment. 

 The state does not designate specific paydays but requires salaried employees who are subject to Wyoming labor laws to be paid at least semi-monthly, with wages earned in the first half of the month payable by the first day of the subsequent month while salaries earned in the second half of the month are payable by the fifteenth day of the following month. Notably, if the first or fifteenth day of the month falls on a holiday or any other non-working day, employees should be paid on the last workday preceding the payday. 

Salaried employment in Wyoming falls under two groups based on the applicability of the state’s minimum wage and overtime regulations to each category. The first category comprises salaried employees who are not subject to minimum wage and overtime regulations while the second comprises non-exempt salaried employees, who are subject to both regulations and eligible for overtime pay.

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

Characteristic Salaried Employees Hourly Employees
Compensation Structure Receive a fixed salary on a regular basis regardless of the number of hours worked, quantity of work, and the quality of their work.  Paid based on an hourly basis. 
Overtime Eligibility May be exempt from overtime pay if they meet the federal criteria for exemption and work in select industries as defined by Wyoming overtime laws. Typically eligible for overtime pay for all time worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek unless declared exempt by the state’s overtime laws. 
Minimum Wage Subject to either the federal minimum salary threshold if exempt or the state minimum wage laws if non-exempt. Subject to federal and state minimum wage laws and entitled to the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. 
Employee Benefits May be eligible for various employee benefits, including job-protected family and medical leave as per the provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).  May have less comprehensive benefits, which vary depending on individual employers. 
Job Security and Income Stability Generally have more income stability due to fixed compensation and more job security due to federal protections for exempt employees.  May have less income stability since wages fluctuate based on the number of hours worked and less job security since employment is typically contingent on business needs.
Time Tracking and Record Keeping May not be required to track hours worked since compensation is fixed. Required to track time worked since employers are required to keep records of hours worked by each employee. For accurate records of hours worked, consider these 6 best time tracking software according to a tech CEO

Common Questions About Salaried Employee Rights in Wyoming

What are the Basic Rights of Salaried Employees in Wyoming?

Employees in Wyoming are entitled to certain basic rights and protections under federal and state labor laws. These include: 

  1. Minimum Wage: Non-exempt salaried employees in Wyoming are entitled to compensation of at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. 
  2. Overtime Pay: Salaried employees who are subject to the state’s minimum wage and overtime regulations are entitled to overtime pay for all time worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek. 
  3. Workplace Safety: Employers in Wyoming are required to provide a workplace that is free from any recognized hazards that could bring physical harm or death to their employees. 
  4. Right to Non-Hazardous Occupations: Minor employees aged 14 and 15 are protected from engaging in hazardous work such as the operation of heavy machinery or any work that exposes them to dangerous chemicals.
  5. Right to Organize: Wyoming is a right-to-work state. Therefore, employees in the state have the right to join and participate in the activities of a labor union without retaliation from their employers. Further, employers cannot require membership to a labor union or the termination of membership to one as a pre-condition for employment. 
  6. Anti-Discrimination: Wyoming protects the civil rights of all employees in the state. Accordingly, employers in the state are prohibited from discriminating against employees on the basis of any of the following protected characteristics:
    • Race
    • Color
    • Religion
    • Gender
    • Sexual orientation
    • National origin
    • Age
    • Disability
    • Political affiliation

Is Overtime Pay Applicable to Salaried Employees in Wyoming?

Yes, although some categories of salaried employees are not eligible for overtime, compensation by salary basis does not preclude all salaried employees from qualifying for overtime. In fact, most salaried employees in the state are eligible for overtime with a few exceptions according to Wyoming salaried employees laws. Some of the employees who are not eligible for overtime in the state include:

  • Salaried supervisors
  • Salaried professionals
  • Salaried administrative employees
  • Retail employees who work on a commission basis
  • Outside sales representatives

Can Employers Deduct Wages from Salaried Employees in Wyoming?

Yes, employers in Wyoming are allowed to make the following wage deductions:

  • Income taxes.
  • Social Security deductions.
  • Labor union dues.
  • Contributions and repayments to financial institutions.
  • Deductions for goods purchased by an employee from their employer.
  • Deductions to recover losses caused by an employee’s negligence.
  • Cash advances and other loans advanced to the employee by the employer.
  • Deductions for the purchase of uniforms, equipment, and tests required for an employee to perform their duties effectively.

 

Are Salaried Employees Eligible for Breaks and Leaves in Wyoming?

No, employers in Wyoming are not required to offer rest or meal breaks to employees. Similarly, employers in the state are not required to offer bereavement leave, holiday leave, vacation leave, or sick leave to employees. However, employees in the state are entitled to paid voting leave of one hour for primary, general, or special elections. Similarly, employees are entitled to jury duty leave if selected to serve in a jury. This leave may be unpaid but employers are prohibited from discharging, threatening to discharge, or intimidating an employee for responding to summons for jury duty or serving on a jury.

Can Salaried Employees Request Flexible Work Arrangements in Wyoming?

The U.S. Department of Labor defines a flexible work arrangement as any work schedule that deviates from the standard 9-5 workday and 40-hour workweek. Federal laws do not address flexible work arrangements. Similarly, Wyoming state laws do not require employers to adopt specific alternative work arrangements. However, the state adopts some flexible work arrangements, and the Wyoming Department of Administration and Information encourages private employers to do the same to allow employees to take care of personal matters, maintain a healthy work-life balance, and recharge.

 

Understanding Exempt vs. Non-Exempt Status in Wyoming

What is the Definition of Exempt Status in Wyoming?

In Wyoming, exempt status refers to minimum wage and overtime exceptions. Therefore, an exempt employee in the state is typically a salaried employee who is not subject to the state’s minimum wage and overtime laws and is not entitled to overtime pay regardless of the number of hours worked. In addition to establishing some state-specific exemptions, Wyoming recognizes the following federal exemptions as per the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA):

  • The professional exemption
  • The administrative exemption
  • The executive exemption
  • The outside sales representative exemption

What are the Implications of Exempt Status in Wyoming?

Exempt status has the following implications for employees and employers in Wyoming:

  1. Basis of Compensation: Exempt employees in the state are entitled to a fixed salary and are not entitled to overtime pay. Therefore, they do not receive any additional compensation for working long hours and employers. 
  2. Job Responsibilities and Legal Compliance: Exempt employees perform specific duties that fall under the four exemption categories recognized by Wyoming state laws. Employers must ensure that employees who perform these duties and meet the federal criteria for exemption are classified as exempt to avoid the legal consequences of employee misclassification. 
  3. Labor Costs: Exempt employees are not eligible for overtime pay. Therefore, employers do not need to pay overtime to exempt employees, which can result in cost savings. Further, the administrative tasks involved in payroll management are reduced since the employees earn a fixed salary.

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

Aspect Exempt Employees Non-Exempt Employees
Overtime Pay Typically not eligible for overtime pay. Eligible for overtime pay for time worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek. 
Compensation  Basis Paid a fixed salary regardless of the number of hours worked and the quality of work done.  May be paid on a salary basis or hourly basis. 
Job Duties Must perform specific job duties that meet specific federal exemption criteria.  Typically perform non-exempt duties and non-managerial roles. 
Minimum Compensation  Entitled to a minimum compensation of $684 per week or $35,568 per year.  Entitled to a minimum compensation of the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. 
Recordkeeping Not required to track time and employers are not required to keep records of hours worked. Must track hours worked and employers are required to maintain accurate records of hours worked and the rate of compensation. 

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

In Wyoming, employee exempt status is determined by federal regulations established by the FLSA. To determine whether you are exempt from overtime pay and minimum wage requirements in the state, consider the following tests: 

  1. Salary Basis Test: Exempt employees in Wyoming must be paid on a salary basis.The salary must meet or exceed the minimum salary threshold set by the FLSA. 
  2. Salary Level Test: An exempt employee’s salary must meet or exceed the minimum salary threshold of $684 per week or $35,568 per year as established by the FLSA.
  3. Duties Test: Typically, employees who meet the salary basis and level criteria are considered exempt if their duties fall under the following exempt categories:
    • Executive Exemption: According to the FLSA, executive employees who pass the salary level and basis tests are considered exempt if they manage an enterprise or one of its recognized divisions, supervise the work of more than two employees regularly, and have the authority to make material personnel decisions. 
    • Administrative Exemption: Employees who meet the salary basis and level criteria are considered exempt if they primarily perform office or non-manual work related to management of their employer’s enterprise and exercise independent judgment on significant matters related to business operations. 
    • Professional Exemption: Professionals who pass the salary basis and level tests are considered exempt if their work is intellectual in nature, requires advanced knowledge in a field of science and knowledge, and they are expected to exercise independent judgment and discretion in their duties. 
    • Outside Sales Exemption: Salespersons who primarily generate sales and obtain orders away from the employer’s place of business are considered exempt if they pass the salary level and basis tests.

Wage and Hour Regulations in Wyoming

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

The current minimum wage in Wyoming is $5.15 per hour, which is lower than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Therefore, non-exempt salaried employees in the state are entitled to a minimum compensation of $7.25 per hour. Comparatively, exempt employees are entitled to the federal minimum salary of $684 per week or $35,568.

How is Overtime Compensated for Salaried Employees in Wyoming?

Eligible salaried employees in Wyoming earn overtime pay at a rate of 1.5 times their regular pay for all time worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek. It’s important to note that overtime pay is computed based on the number of hours worked in a workweek and not the number of hours worked in a workday. Eligible state employees can opt for compensatory time in lieu of monetary compensation for overtime. Compensatory time is compensated at a rate of 1.5 hours of comp time for every hour worked beyond 40 hours in a workweek.

 

Deductions, Benefits, and Protections in Wyoming

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

Wyoming labor laws establish a comprehensive list of permissible deductions, which can be classified into four categories as follows:

  • Deductions Authorized by Law: Income taxes and social security contributions are permissible in the state.
  • Deductions for Fees and Contributions: Employers in Wyoming can deduct employee contributions to health, retirement, and savings plans, union dues, and repayments, savings, or contributions to financial institutions. 
  • Deductions for Losses from Damages Caused by an Employee: Employers in the state can recoup any losses caused by an employee’s negligence from their wages. Permissible deductions under this category include deductions to recover losses resulting from theft, negligence, and fraud. However, a judicial process must find an employee guilty of theft, fraud, or negligence for these deductions to be allowed.
  • Deductions for Refundable Employer-Provided Benefits: Employers can recover loans advanced to employees, the cost of goods sold to employees, and the cost of items purchased by an employee using their employer’s credit card.

What are the Provided Employee Benefits and Protections Under Wyoming?

Wyoming offers various benefits and protections for employees. Key benefits and protections include:

  • Workplace Safety: Wyoming enforces workplace safety standards that protect employees from any known hazards in the workplace that can cause injuries or illnesses. 
  • Unemployment Benefits: Eligible employees in Wyoming are entitled to unemployment benefits such as temporary financial assistance if they are partially or totally unemployed through no fault of their own. 
  • Workers’ Compensation: Employees in Wyoming who sustain workplace injuries and illnesses are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, including medical bills and lost wages. It’s important to note that these benefits are funded by employer’s contributions. In exchange for these benefits, employers are protected from lawsuits from the injured employee. 
  • Family and Medical Leave: Exempt employees in Wyoming are entitled to medical and family leave as per the provisions of the FMLA.  
  • Protection from Discrimination: Wyoming labor laws prohibit discrimination based on various protected characteristics, including race, color, national origin, religion, age, disability, and gender.
  • Whistleblower Protections: Employees in Wyoming are protected from retaliation in the form of termination or demotion for reporting labor law violations by their employers or participating in legal proceedings against their employer.

Taking Action Against Violations in Wyoming

How to Report Violations to Authorities or Labor Departments in Wyoming?

Wage violations in Wyoming are addressed to the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services’ Labor Standards Division. You can file a wage claim with the division by filling out the division’s Claim for Wages form. Similarly, you can report health and safety concerns to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration by filling out the OSHA Online Complaint Form.

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

Sexual Harassment: Wyoming Highway Patrol Settles Sex Discrimination Lawsuit with Employee

In December 2021, Wyoming Highway Patrol and Sandeson, one of its patrol officers, reached a settlement in the case: Sanderson v. Wyoming Highway Patrol.

In the case, Sanderson, who had joined the organization as a trooper before rising up the ranks to become part of the division that protected the governor and other state officials, alleged that she experienced sexual harassment and endured a hostile workplace environment. Sanderson alleged that her colleagues started rumors that she used sex to earn her way up the ranks. The rumors escalated to name calling when her colleagues gave her the nickname “division bicycle,” implying that she was sexually promiscuous. In addition to the rumors, Sanderson experienced hostility, with some troopers expressing the view that women should not be part of the division that provided security for top state officials. She reported the instances of hostility and sexual harassment to her supervisors several times but no action was taken. Instead, she was demoted, prompting her to file a lawsuit against the state’s highway patrol unit. 

Sanderson and the Wyoming Highway Patrol agreed to an out-of-court settlement but the details of the agreement were not made public.

Lessons learned from the case:

  • The case is a reminder to employers to establish strict and comprehensive anti-harassment policies and consider providing regular training to employees on the activities that constitute sexual harassment and their consequences.
  • The case highlights the importance of establishing merit-based career advancement policies to avoid advancing the connotations that some levels of employment are reserved for male or female employees. 

Racial Discrimination: University of Wyoming Pays Former Employee $15,000 to Settle Retaliation Termination Suit

The University of Wyoming paid a former employee $15,000 to settle the case: JL Wilkins v. The University of Wyoming; Ed Seidel, in his official capacity as President of the University of Wyoming; Kim Chestnut, in her official capacity as Interim Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Parag Chitnis, in his official capacity as Vice President for Research and Economic Development; and H. Victoria Bryant, in her official capacity as Director of the Wyoming Technology Transfer and Research Products Center.

JL Wilkins started out as an intern at the University of Wyoming before the institution took him on as a part-time employee. Wilkins alleged that when he sought a promotion, his supervisor asked him to “check a box,” implying that his race, color, and religion would disqualify him from the promotion he sought. Wilkins filed a discrimination suit against the institution, alleging that he was denied a promotion for being a white, Christian male, adding that the institution had adopted the discriminatory stance that while males are the worst part of society. He was fired soon after, prompting him to file a second suit alleging that his employment was terminated in retaliation.

The University of Wyoming settled the case for $15,000. In a statement, the institution clarified that the settlement was not an admission of guilt. Rather, it was a strategic decision since the settlement was cheaper than the cost of going to trial.  

Lessons learned from the case:

  • The case is a reminder to employers that workplace discrimination on the basis of race, gender, and other protected characteristics is prohibited in Wyoming.
  • Wilkin’s second lawsuit is a reminder that it is illegal to fire, demote, or retaliate against an employee in any other way for reporting labor law violations or participating in legal proceedings against their employer. 

Final Thoughts

It’s essential for salaried employees in Wyoming to have a solid understanding of their legal entitlements and protections. This knowledge will empower them to shield themselves from potential violations of their rights and advocate for their well-being in the workplace. 

Keeping up with changes in labor laws is crucial for maintaining a positive workplace environment. Therefore, it’s important to seek expert guidance by consulting an employment attorney or contacting the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services for counsel and guidance.

Important Cautionary Note

When making this guide we have tried to make it accurate but we do not give any guarantee that the information provided is correct or up-to-date. We therefore strongly advise you seek advice from qualified professionals before acting on any information provided in this guide. We do not accept any liability for any damages or risks incurred for use of this guide.