Don't expect a job title to help you, or a court, determine an employee's exempt or nonexempt status under the Fair Labor Standards Act (). A manager in name only doesn't make an employee exempt.
That's why you must consider employee titles with care. Take into account their duties and responsibilities, plus the extent to which they differ fromunder their direction. Be especially wary of "assistant" titles, such
as assistant manager or assistant supervisor. If these employees don't have
true supervisory responsibility over two or more full-time workers, you likely shouldn't classify them as exempt.
Recent case: A gas station "manager in charge" was paid a salary, received benefits and classified as an. He handled customer complaints and basic administrative jobs like scheduling and training. But he had little author?ity over hiring and firing, giving raises or setting pay. And 95 percent of the time, he performed the same tasks as the station's car-wash attendants.
A district court found that the gas station misclassified this "manager" and owed him overtime pay. A federal appeals court agreed. Court's reasoning: The manager wasn't an "executive" under FLSA rules because hisduties were slim at best. He supervised only three part-time workers and never more than one person per shift. (Jackson v. Go-Tane Services, No. 02-1468, 7th Cir., 2003)
- Warn managers: Don't mention FMLA during discussion about discharge
- Train employees to avoid pestering workers who file lawsuits or in-house complaints
- Document handling of vague harassment complaint
- Not so warm and fuzzy at Build-A-Bear Workshop these days
- Beware justifying hiring or promotion with criteria that don't appear in job description