Regularly review exempt status to avoid FLSA ‘job creep’
Employees who don’t fit into one of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s exemption categories are entitled to overtime pay. Their job titles don’t matter. What counts are actual job duties. Those duties, of course, change over time.
That’s why it’s important to review exempt status regularly—ideally, every time you update a job description. That way, you won’t be caught by surprise if an employee claims her job duties changed so much that she’s now an hourly employee.
Recent case: Cynthia Jarvis sued her employer, NASA, alleging that over the years her job had become akin to a secretarial position. She wanted payment for all the extra hours she said she had worked from home.
But NASA was prepared with her job descriptions and could clearly show she was doing administratively exempt tasks, such as negotiating and tracking contracts. The court tossed out Jarvis’ case. (Jarvis v. Griffin, No. 6:08-CV-138, MD FL, 2009)