Harris v. Superior Court Reviews Administrative Exemption
The California Supreme Court has just issued its decision in Harris v. Superior Court, an overtime pay case that addresses whether certain employees are exempt v. non-exempt under California’s Wage Order, which is similar the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). The FLSA provides that all employees who are not exempt from the FLSA be paid at a rate of one and one half times their regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in any work week.
Whether an employee is exempt or not may be a complex determination and can have a potentially significant impact on an individual’s take home pay. If you have questions concerning whether you are entitled to overtime pay under the FLSA, it is important to consult an experienced Georgia overtime pay attorney.
In Harris, the California Supreme Court reviewed the “administrative exemption” to determine whether a group of insurance adjusters were exempt or not exempt. The court of appeal held that employees were only considered exempt where work is performed “at the level of making company policy.” Work that “merely carries out the particular day-to-day operations of the business is production, not administrative work.” Based on this definition, the administrative exemption was narrowly applied.
Earlier this week, the California Supreme Court rejected the Appellate Court definition of the administrative exemption and pointed to the federal Department of Labor guidelines for guidance in interpreting the exemption. Pursuant to Harris to qualify for the administrative exemption employees must “(1) be paid at a certain level, (2) their work must be administrative, (3) their primary duties must involved that administrative work, and (4) they must discharge those primary duties by regularly exercising independent judgment and discretion.”
While the Cal. Supreme Court fails to give much specific guidance regarding which employees fall within the administrative exemption, it’s decision reaffirms the need to incorporate federal standards in determining who is exempt v. not exempt.
Overtime pay laws may appear simple at first. However, several complicated issues may arise in determine just who is entitled to overtime compensation. For more information, or if you have questions concerning overtime wages, please contact a knowledgeable Georgia wage and hour attorney at Buckley & Klein for a confidential consultation.