If employee has authority to hire and fire, is he automatically eligible for exempt classification? — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily
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If employee has authority to hire and fire, is he automatically eligible for exempt classification?

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Q. Our mailroom supervisor is currently classified as exempt because his position includes qualifications such as hiring and firing the mailroom staff. But for the most part, he mainly performs mailroom duties. Have we classified him correctly?

A. Probably not, if his primary duty is performing nonexempt work. To meet the executive exemption under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), he must:

  1. Be compensated on a salary basis at a rate of not less than $455 per week
  2. Have as his primary duty the management of the enterprise or of a customarily recognized department or subdivision
  3. Customarily and regularly direct the work of two or more other employees
  4. Have the authority to hire or fire other employees or make suggestions and recommendations as to the hiring, firing, advancement, promotion or any other change of status of other employees that are given particular weight.

Under the FLSA, (29 C.F.R. 541.100, 541.700), “The term ‘primary duty’ means the principal, main, major or most important duty that the employee performs. Deter­mination of an employee’s primary duty must be based on all the facts in a particular case, with the major emphasis on the character of the employee’s job as a whole. Factors to consider when determining the primary duty of an employee include, but are not limited to, the relative importance of the exempt duties as compared with other types of duties; the amount of time spent performing exempt work; the employee’s relative freedom from direct supervision; and the relationship between the employee’s salary and the wages paid to other employees for the kind of nonexempt work performed by the employee.”

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