• LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google+

Recession playing havoc with FLSA exemptions

Get PDF file

by on
in Employment Law,HR Management,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Management Training

Are your employees performing the exact same tasks they were three years—or even three months—ago? Probably not. Layoffs have left millions of employees juggling their own tasks as well as those of departed co-workers.

One byproduct:
Shifting job duties can also shift exemption status under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Titles don’t matter. When employees’ job duties no longer qualify them as exempt from the FLSA, they can raise the “hourly” flag and sue for unpaid overtime pay.

This trend is one reason FLSA exemption-related lawsuits have grown so quickly in recent years.

Example: A marketing employee sued an Ohio health facility for unpaid overtime. The company originally classified the woman as exempt under the FLSA’s administrative exemption. But she claimed her duties had changed so many times that, at least for part of the time, she should have been classified as a nonexempt hourly employee and, thus, entitled to overtime for hours worked in excess of 40 per week.

The court sent the case to trial. The company will now have to explain its classification at each point that her duties changed. (Kiehl v. University Hospitals Health System, ND OH)

Advice: Whenever an exempt employee’s job duties are modified, your organization needs to determine whether the employee is still exempt or is now a nonexempt hourly worker. Tell supervisors and managers to update employee job descriptions with each change and forward them to the HR office for approval.


Leave a Comment