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Beware professional exemption if college degree isn’t required

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in Leaders & Managers,Management Training

Before concluding that a white-collar and seemingly professional skilled and scientific job is exempt from overtime, get expert advice. Blindly deciding that the job is exempt may mean trouble down the line.

Recent case: Andrew Young graduated from high school, but never completed college. He worked as a mechanical engineer for Cooper Cameron Corp. until he was laid off. That’s when he sued, alleging he was due overtime because he should have been classified as an hourly employee.

The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Young. It pointed out that no one who held the same position had a college degree and that the job didn’t require a degree or any formal advanced education. To claim the professional exemption, employers have to show the job requires advanced training or education. (Young v. Cooper Cameron Corporation, No. 08-5847, 2nd Cir., 2009)

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