Exempt Status in Jeopardy

Dear Mel;
I have been working in my position as Fiscal Manager since June 2003, and have been consider an 'exempt' employee by both myself and my employer, and rightly so.
However, I have had hours deducted from my sick and vacation benefit time if I had an ocassion to work less than 40 hours per week.
I asked to be reimbursed for the hours that were incorrectly deducted for partial day deductions, but was told, no. I was then informed that my status is now 'non-exempt', effective immediately.
I hope you have a remedy.

Thank you for your time!

1 answer  |  asked Apr 29, 2005 1:20 PM [EST]  |  applies to New York

Answers (1)

David M. Lira
Job Status Changed

You word the query as a question under the Fair Labor Standards Act, but it is really an employment-at-will questions.

Under the employment at will doctrine, your employer can certainly change your job and, thus, your job status. But there are consequences to the employer, such as you are now entitled to overtime.

If this is more of a game with the employer, that is, this week you are non-exempt because the employer wants to dock you for leaving early one day, but exempt the next week because the employer does not want to pay you overtime, I would say that a court would probably end up treating you as a non-exempt employee because of presumptions created under FLSA. Under FLSA, an employee is generally considered non-exempt unless the employee falls into an exemption, and exemptions are easily lost.

Your questions raises an issue of retroactivity. That is, you were told you were non-exempt only after you took the time off thinking you were exempt. I really do not know whether under FLSA you would be able to get reinstatement of the lost leave time. Generally, however, you cannot be denied an entitlement retroactively. Even if we assume that you are entitled to the deduct time back, one question you would need to ask is whether it would be worth the effort and costs.

posted by David M. Lira  |  May 2, 2005 10:28 AM [EST]

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