Your Job Title Does Not Determine Whether You Are Exempt from Overtime Compensation

posted by Arkady Itkin  |  Jan 3, 2013 11:58 AM [EST]  |  applies to California

California courts and the Department of Labor have repeatedly held that an employee's title doesn't determine whether he or she should be exempt from receiving overtime compensation. In other words, just because the employer classified you as a "manager", doesn't mean that you are in fact a manager who falls into the administrative exemption from overtime pay. 

What determines the exempt/non-exempt status is the nature of the employee's day-to-day duties at work. Only those employees, whose work mostly (at least 51%) involves exercising discretion in making key decisions can be exempt from overtime pay. 

Thus, one California court recently held that the insurance adjusters were wrongfully classified as exempt from overtime by one insurance company, and even though they in some way made administrative decisions, such as determining the value of claims and paying settlements, those weren't administrative decisions that affect the company's major operations, but those were duties, more similar to those of a production worker. In its analysis, the court compared those claim adjusters to legal secretaries, who also exercise some discretion over their work, but whose duties squarely fall into the non-exempt category, also making them entitled to overtime pay. 

An employee who believes that he has been wrongfully classified as exempt and is owed for unpaid overtime, should contact an experienced employment attorney to discuss his options of bringing a claim for overtime compensation in court or in DLSE (Department of Labor Standards Enforcement). 

posted by Arkady Itkin  |  Jan 3, 2013 11:58 AM [EST]  |  applies to California

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