Figuring out who’s exempt from overtime can be tricky. But a recent court ruling gives HR some much-needed good news.
Here’s what happened:
A group of managerial employees sued their employer for unpaid overtime. They claimed they spent more than half of every day doing clerical work and therefore were incorrectly classified as exempt.
The court didn’t agree. Under current wage and hour regs, it doesn’t really matter how much time employees spend on different types of work. The important question is whether or not someone’s “primary duty” involves exempt work.
The time test can be a good rule of thumb, the court said, but it’s also possible for employees’ primary duties to take up less than half their time. Other factors to consider include:
- relative importance of managerial duties compared to the other work
- the employee’s freedom from direct supervision, and
- the reason the employee’s position exists.
In this case, the court found the employees’ jobs existed primarily to manage other workers — the clerical duties were just incidental to the managerial work. Therefore, they were exempt from overtime.
Cite: Desmond v. PNGI Charles Town Gaming, LLC