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Beware misclassifying assistants and computer pros

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The Labor Department's revised overtime regulations that define which white-collar employees are "exempt" employees (not eligible for overtime pay) and "nonexempt' employees (eligible for overtime) turn one year old in August. According to attorney William Schurgin of Seyfarth Shaw, employers are making the most classification mistakes with two types of employees:

1. Executive assistants. "The number of executive assistants that are truly exempt is small ... and this is an issue that the Department of Labor is going after time and time again," said Schurgin. Key points: If the executive is out of the office, could the assistant make some key decisions in his or her place? If not, the person is likely nonexempt.

2. Computer professionals. The new rules lay out an exemption for certain computer professionals, but too many employers try to shoehorn every IT person into that category, even help-desk people.

"It's a very, very hot-button issue with the Department of Labor right now," he said.

For a description of all the exemption categories, access our free report, Complying With the New Overtime Rules, at

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