Employer wrongly classified specialist as exempt employee

by on March 31, 2009 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

No decision making, no engineering, no analysis, no FLSA compliance

A lot of well-intentioned companies want to push decision making to the lowest possible levels. When that turns a non-exempt worker into exempt employee, you need to be careful, as the employer in this case learned.

A new job title, but little else

In a company-wide reorganization, Anthony Martin was reassigned from the nonexempt job of Computer Security Technician to IT Support Specialist, which was an exempt employee.

According to the company, the move was to “push down responsibilities to workers.” Martin was unhappy: He didn’t think he had many more responsibilities, but he lost his overtime!

Martin filed a lawsuit claiming his employer had violated FLSA compliance rules.

Martin’s job involved responding to computer help-desk calls, installing PCs, ordering new parts and fixing broken components. He didn’t make decisions, he didn’t lead others and he wasn’t involved in high-level programming or engineering.

The court even noted that Martin came to work in jeans and work boots, unlike the business-casual attire worn by programmers.

In fact, the court couldn’t find much of a change between Martin’s old job and his new one – except for a new title and no overtime.

The court, calling the employer “negligent,” ordered it to restore Martin’s back pay and reclassify his job.

Cite: Martin v. Indiana Michigan Power Company, U.S. Court of Appeals, 6th Circuit, No. 02-2343, 8/23/04

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