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More about exemptions from mandatory overtime requirements

Many employees in the San Diego area are affected by the mandatory overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. In our last post, we discussed exemptions from these requirements that apply to executive and managerial personnel. This post will continue the discussion about how the law affects professional employees, computer employees and outside sales employees. As with managerial and executive jobs, the application of an overtime exemption depends upon the reality of the job as performed by the employee, not a label chosen by the employer. However, the lines that define these jobs are easier to draw than those of executive and managerial employees.

A “bona fide professional employee” is an employee whose compensation is not less than the 40th percentile of weekly earnings of full-time nonhourly workers in the lowest wage Census region. The work of a professional must require advanced knowledge in science or in a field of learning that typically requires a prolonged course of specialized instruction and requires various mental capacities, such as imagination, invention or creativity. This class typically includes doctors, lawyers, engineers, academics and similar occupations.

The next class is “computer employees.” Because job duties in this field vary widely, a mere job title is not determinative. The salary of an exempt computer employee must exceed a minimum in much the same way as the salary of a more generally classified professional. To be considered exempt, a computer employee’s duties must include design, development or testing of computer systems relating to computer prototypes, requirements related to a user specific system or programs related to machine operating systems, or a combination of any of the foregoing. This exemption specifically does not apply to employees who manufacture or repair computer hardware.

An outside sales employee is considered exempt if the employee is engaged in the sale of one or more products, obtaining orders for the use of facilities and who works away from the employers’ premises.

Each of these categories has exceptions and qualifications. Anyone who is wondering if they are an exempt employee may wish to consult an employment lawyer for an evaluation of their current employment situation.


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