Four Common Overtime Exemptions in Ohio
Many families in Columbus depend on overtime pay. The Fair Labor Standards Act sets out specific rules as to who is entitled to overtime pay and who is not. Contrary to what employers would like to believe, these categories are not self-explanatory.
This exception comes up quite frequently with regard to charge nurses, shift supervisors, and other employees with some management duties and some regular employee duties. Some employers in Columbus believe that they can place these individuals on salary and not have to pay overtime.
That is partially true. To qualify for an exemption, the employee must be on salary and must receive at least $455 a week. But there are other qualifications, as well:
- The worker’s “primary duty” must involve “managing the enterprise.” In other words, executives cannot do rank-and-file work, such as interfacing with customers, for more than a few minutes a day.
- Executives must “customarily and regularly direct the work of at least two or more other full-time employees.” This requirement omits shift managers and other similar employees. While these individuals may make schedules and spend lots of time working in a back office, they certainly do not “direct the work” of the people under them on a regular basis.
- For the exemption to apply, the executive must either have the authority to hire and fire workers or “the employee’s suggestions and recommendations…must be given particular weight.” That description usually only applies to one or two top people in an organization.
In a nutshell, this exemption only applies to full-time, top-level executives. We are usually talking CEOs and CFOs. Lesser “executives” may qualify under another exception, but not this one.
For FLSA purposes, secretaries usually are not “administrators.” A worker’s “primary duty” must involve “discretion and independent judgment” in “significant” matters. If all three of these elements are not present, the administration overtime exception is inapplicable.
Not all professionals qualify under the professional exemption. Document review attorneys are a good example. These individuals usually look at computer or paper documents to determine if they should be produced during discovery. Such lawyers clearly use their law degrees, which are “customarily acquired by a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction.” However, it is debatable as to whether such work requires “the consistent exercise of discretion and judgment.” If an employee looks at a document and checks a box, such work arguably does not require very much discretion or judgment.
Employees Who Work With Computers
Most offices have a “computer troubleshooter” who deals with network errors and other such issues. Part-time troubleshooters do not qualify. These individuals may not qualify for a computer exemption even if they do this work full time unless they:
- Use systems analysis techniques to diagnose and fix problems, and
- Design or modify these systems based on user specifications.
Moreover, these individuals must earn at least $455 a week in salary or at least $27.63 an hour.
Reach Out to an Experienced Attorney
Overtime exemptions are not just labels. There are very specific qualifications for each one. For a confidential consultation with an experienced employment law attorney in Columbus, contact Marshall Forman & Schlein LLC. We routinely handle matters in Franklin County and nearby jurisdictions.