Did she pass the FLSA exemption test?

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

She made independent decisions under minimal supervision like an exempt employee but…

When an employee’s primary duties include the exercise of her own discretion and independent decision making, she may be exempt from overtime, regardless of her job title.

Cynthia McAllister worked as a claims coordinator for Transamerica, an insurance company. As an essential job function, McAllister investigated disability and death claims. She had the authority to approve contestable claims of up to $150,000.

McAllister’s job description stated that she was to use her “professional knowledge and experience to act independently to achieve objectives.” Her job also called for her to “process independently the most complex and large dollar amount claims.” All job components pointing to an exempt status in the FMLA exemption test.

During several work weeks in 1999, she was required to work more than 40 hours. She sued her employer for $5,379 in overtime.

Transamerica claimed she was an administrative exempt employee not entitled to overtime compensation.

McAllister, who earned about $40,000 a year, claimed she merely reviewed rule books and applied procedures. However, her job description cited the importance of a claims examiner’s “good judgment.” And a few years earlier, McAllister characterized her work (in writing) as involving independent decision making under minimal supervision.

Her position passed the FMLA exemption test. McAllister’s job was properly classified an exempt employee.

Cite: McAllister v. Transamerica Occidental Life Insurance Co., U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit, No. 01-3282, 4/15/03

Leave a Reply


Request a Free Demo

We'd love to show you how this industry-leading training system can help you develop your team. Please fill out this quick form or give us a call at 877-792-2172 to schedule your one-on-one demo with a Rapid Learning Specialist.