Thank you for trusting your question to JA today. I am a licensed attorney with over a decade of law practice and over 20 years of experience in the legal field. I’m happy to be of assistance.
You could argue that you are being paid a salary rate and being asked to do work that does not fit into the salaried category. That would be the true issue here. What others are being paid is legally irrelevant to your situation. Nothing in the law requires everyone be paid the exact same manner when they are doing similar work.
What matters is if the work that you were doing could legally be considered salaried exempt work. If you were working with this other department, but were still primarily working in the area related to your engineering function, then you are properly being paid as salaried exempt and aren't entitled to any different form of pay. If you were being asked to perform the same functions as all the hourly employees and had no supervisory capacity, you could argue that you were improperly paid.
You'd make that argument by filing a wage and hour complaint with your state's Department of Labor. It is a legally protected complaint, meaning you can make it without facing retaliation.
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