The FLSA exempts from the overtime pay requirement employees who receive qualifying compensation and perform the duties of a computer professional, principally relating to computer programming or systems analysis.  29 U.S.C. § 213(a)(17).  A New York Magistrate Judge recently issued a recommendation seeking to clarify what duties an employee must perform to be considered an exempt “computer professional.”  Olorode v. Streamingedge, Inc., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59421 (S.D.N.Y. April 29, 2014).

In Olorode, Plaintiff had several previously-acquired technical certifications relating to his position with Defendant, which called for him to provide “systems analysis, software research and development, support, maintenance and testing, networking, and assistance with site installations” to support Defendant’s trading desk.  As one supervisor described the role, it entailed “help[ing] brokers tailor the operating system to meet their particular needs . . . [and] if a piece of hardware breaks or malfunctions[,] a systems support analyst is usually required to repair it, or to buy or find another one.”  This showing was sufficient, Magistrate Judge Andrew J. Peck held, concluding that Plaintiff’s “role was critical to Streamingedge’s functionality and that he often engaged in sophisticated tasks in aid of his brokers . . . all types of duties and responsibilities that characterize [exempt] computer employees.”

Application of the computer professional exemption remains technical, requiring understanding of both the legal concepts and the underlying technology issues.  Of course state law must be considered.