Tag Archives: discretion and independent judgment

Wynn Marketing Executive Host Is Exempt Administrative Employee Due To Exercise of Discretion

Earlier this week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued an unpublished decision affirming summary judgment in favor of Wynn Las Vegas with respect to overtime claims asserted by a Slot Marketing Executive Host.  Dannenbring v. Wynn Las Vegas, LLC, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 5715 (9th Cir. Nev. Mar. 28, 2016). Concluding … Continue Reading

Trauma Registrar Properly Classified As Exempt Administrative Employee Due To Exercise Of Discretion

Rejecting a claim that the position lacked “discretion and independent judgment,” an Indiana Federal Court recently found a trauma registrar for a Level III Trauma Center to be an exempt administrative employee. Brown v. Ind. Univ. Health Ball Mem’l Hosp., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141921 (S.D. Ind. Oct. 19, 2015). In Brown, plaintiff was a … Continue Reading

On Second Thought, Court Holds Underwriters Qualify For Administrative Exemption

Applicability of the technical FLSA exemptions can sometimes turn on subtle distinctions, a frustrating proposition for FLSA litigants. A new opinion highlights these subtleties, as, on a motion for reconsideration made ahead of a bench trial, a court reversed its earlier ruling denying summary judgment to defendant bank as to the applicability of the administrative … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Finds That Insurance Claims Adjusters Are Exempt Administrative Employees Under California Law

Applying California’s administrative exemption test, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently concluded an insurance company properly classified its claims adjusters (who handled and processed disability claims) as exempt from the overtime provisions of the California Labor Code, notwithstanding the clerical duties the adjusters performed and their characterization of their work as … Continue Reading

Liaison Responsible for Troubleshooting Invoice Failures Exempt Administrative Employee

A Tennessee federal court recently held that a “Print and Archive Vendor Liaison” responsible for coordinating with outside vendors to print and deliver customer invoices qualified for the administrative exemption notwithstanding the employee’s inability to deviate from employer policies or budgets.  See Boaz v. Fed. Express. Corp., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 70342 (W.D. Tenn. May … Continue Reading

Atlanta Federal Judge Finds Office Worker Exempt Pursuant to Administrative Exemption

Employees who support businesses performing office functions are often dubbed “administrative” employees, whether for wage-and-hour purposes or otherwise. The question under the Fair Labor Standards Act is whether they are administratively exempt from overtime. Answering that question in the affirmative, Judge William S. Duffey, Jr. recently found an office worker for an electrical services firm … Continue Reading

Research Manager Properly Classified As Exempt Administrative Employee

To be “administratively” exempt from overtime, in addition to being paid appropriately on a  salary or fee basis, an employee must perform office or non-manual work directly related to the management or general business operations of his or her employer, with a primary duty which includes the exercise of discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance.  A new decision from the Southern District of … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Reviews Record, Finds Question of Fact as to Discretion and Independent Judgment Exercised by Adjusters

The FLSA exemption inquiry is fact-intensive, particularly when the analysis pertains to the so-called “white collar” exemptions, as highlighted by a new decision from the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.  Harper v. Gov’t Emples. Ins. Co., 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 19310 (2d Cir. Oct. 10, 2014). In Harper, District Judge Leonard Wexler granted … Continue Reading

Ohio Judge: Mortgage Underwriters Properly Classified As Exempt Administrative Employees

The exempt status of loan officers continues to make headlines as the Mortgage Bankers Association presses for Supreme Court affirmance of its successful challenge to a DOL opinion regarding the applicability of the administrative exemption to those workers.  A new court decision highlights the fact intensive nature of exemption inquiries, and also the potentially misleading … Continue Reading

Supreme Court To Review DOL Authority To Issue Administrator Interpretations

Perhaps no single exemption classification under the FLSA has been subject to as much scrutiny, or generated as much inconsistent authority from courts and the United States Department of Labor, as the classification of loan officers in the mortgage banking industry.  In 2013, the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit invalidated the Department of … Continue Reading

California Court Upholds Employer’s Classification of Registered Dietitians as Exempt ”Professionals”

As the healthcare field continues to expand to meet evolving standards of care and government regulations, industry employers have created or modified categories of professional employees to meet business and medical needs.  New positions have been created which are not addressed by name in existing DOL regulations and case law concerning applicability of the learned … Continue Reading

Florida Judge: LPN Who Administered Workers’ Comp Program Was Exempt Administrative Employee

Judge William Terrell Hodges of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida recently ruled that an employee with an LPN degree who was responsible for managing an employer’s workers’ compensation claims qualified for the administrative exemption.  Hodge v. ClosetMaid Corp., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 45490 (M.D. Fla. Apr. 2, 2014). In … Continue Reading

Ohio Judge Finds Dispatchers to be Exempt Administrative Employees

Cases upholding the exempt status of dispatchers pursuant to the administrative exemption of the FLSA generally have focused on whether the position requires the performance of decision-making duties and analysis “beyond mere communication and tracking of vehicles.”  A new decision builds on that analysis.  Wade v. Werner Trucking Co., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35653 (S.D. … Continue Reading

Following Seventh Circuit’s Lead, Pennsylvania Court Holds Insurance Claims Examiner To Be Exempt Administrative Employee

Though courts have generally disfavored such claims, from time to time insurance adjusters and examiners allege that the FLSA’s administrative exemption does not apply to their work because their work either: 1) does not relate to business operations of their employer; or 2) does not require the exercise of discretion and independent judgment.  Rejecting such … Continue Reading

Georgia Court Finds Rental Manager Exercised Discretion, Administratively Exempt

Administrative employees classified as exempt under the administrative exemption who function as a “one man department” at times challenge whether their work genuinely constitutes the exercise of discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance.  They argue that without subordinates, the work must entail significant ministerial tasks.  Rejecting just such a challenge, a … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit Finds Insurance Company’s Internal “Answer Man” Proper Classified as Exempt Administrative Employee

Continuing its line of common sense interpretations of the administrative exemption, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has ruled that an insurance company employee tasked with maintaining an in-depth understanding of particular insurance products and training sales staff on those products was an administratively exempt employee.  Blanchar v. Std. Ins. Co., … Continue Reading

Eleventh Circuit Finds Non-Executive “Manager” Is Exempt Administrative Employee

An employee holding a position involving some degree of managerial authority but not enough to qualify for the executive exemption, is sometimes classified as exempt under the administrative exemption. This classification is premised on, among other duties, these individuals making decisions concerning workflow, prioritizing tasks, and communicating with customers.  The Court of Appeals for the … Continue Reading

Southern District Judge McMahon: Junior Accountants Are Exempt “Professionals”

FLSA litigation generally moves from industry-to-industry, and, in the most recent wave of litigation, one of the hardest hit industries has been the accounting profession, particularly the “big four” accounting firms, which have been subjected to large-scale challenges of their classification of junior accountants as exempt. Typically, these individuals hold accounting degrees and work on massive … Continue Reading

Federal Judge Finds HR Manager Properly Classified As Exempt Employee

As Human Resources professionals already know, running an HR department – or fulfilling the HR function on one’s own – is an integral component of administering an employer’s business. But do those duties necessarily translate into qualifying exempt duties under the FLSA? One recent federal decision confirms that the answer is yes. Farnham v. Riimic, 2012 U.S. Dist. … Continue Reading

Fourth Circuit: CEO’s Administrative Assistant Properly Classified As An Exempt Administrative Employee

To qualify for the administrative exemption, DOL regulations require that an “executive assistant or administrative assistant to a business owner or senior executive of a large business “ perform his or her duties “without specific instructions or prescribed procedures” and that he or she be “delegated authority regarding matters of significance.” 29 CFR § 541.203(d). If an … Continue Reading

LI Village Treasurer Is Exempt Administrative Employee Based on Purchasing Duties

Municipal workers have been protected by the FLSA since the Supreme Court’s landmark 1985 decision in Garcia v. San Antonio Metro. Transit Auth., 469 U.S. 528 (U.S. 1985) (though public sector employers are permitted to pay premium overtime via compensatory time rather than cash wages under 29 U.S.C. § 207(o)). However, as evidenced by a recent … Continue Reading

Ohio Federal Court: USDOL’s “New” Interpretation of Loan Officer Status Was Proper

Much attention has been paid to the Department of Labor’s March 2010 Administrative Interpretation, which reversed prior DOL opinions and stated that mortgage loan officers do not qualify for the administrative exemption under the FLSA. The Mortgage Bankers Association has filed a lawsuit seeking to invalidate the interpretation as a violation of the Administrative Procedures Act. While … Continue Reading

Ohio Judge Rules Insurance Investigators Exempt as “Administrative” Employees

As the volume of FLSA lawsuits remains high, the frequency of collective action trials – once unheard of – has correspondingly increased. On January 5, 2012, following a bench trial, Judge Edmund Sargus, Jr. of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio ruled that 91 current and former “special investigators” for defendant … Continue Reading

Red Cross Director Exercised Discretion and Judgment, Qualified for Administrative Exemption

Quantifying the necessary “discretion and independent judgment” required to qualify for the administrative exemption continues to divide courts, and the conclusion is often in the eye of the judicial beholder. This is especially so where discretionary authority must be measured without reference to monetary benchmarks or limits, such as those applicable to insurance adjusters or purchasing … Continue Reading
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