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Training may be nonexempt even for exempt staff

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in Employment Law,HR Management,Human Resources

Do you offer an extended training period for newly hired workers who will be performing high-skill, exempt administrative jobs? If so, you may have to treat them as hourly workers during the training period when they are not actually performing work, but learning how to do their new jobs. That means if they work more than 40 hours in a workweek, you will have to pay overtime.

Recent case: Michael was hired as a dispatcher responsible for monitoring truck drivers. The employer classified dispatchers as exempt administrative workers.

He underwent an initial training period consisting of 12-hour training shifts for two weeks, working 84 hours per week. He was paid a straight salary. He sued, alleging he should have been paid overtime.

The court agreed, noting that exempt status does not cover training periods in which no exempt work is performed. (Espinosa v. Stevens Tanker, WD TX, 2017)

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