Last week, the Supreme Court of the United States issued an opinion relating to exemptions from overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The decision relates not to the most commonly relied upon exemptions to the overtime rule — the executive, administrative, professional exceptions, but rather to a specific exemption from overtime for “any salesman, partsman, or mechanic primarily engaged in selling or servicing automobiles, trucks, or farm implements, if he is employed by a nonmanufacturing establishment primarily engaged in the business of selling such vehicles or implements to ultimate purchasers.” Based on the job duties of the employee plaintiffs who sought overtime pay, the Court held that their job duties met the requirements of the exemption and thus the plaintiffs were not entitled to overtime.
While this holding would seem to apply to a narrow class of jobs (sales/service persons in the auto industry), the Supreme Court signaled a broader reach. In this 5-4 decision, the Court opined that nothing in the FLSA requires its listed exemptions to the overtime rule be narrowly defined, as the Ninth Circuit had ruled and which resulted in more employees being eligible for overtime. Hence, though this Supreme Court decision directly applies only to a small class of employees in the automobile sales/service industry, employees in other jobs who currently are denied overtime but believe they should be entitled to it might have a harder time prevailing. However, for the majority of jobs exempt from overtime, namely those exempt under the Administrative, Executive, and Professional exemptions, the Supreme Court decision is likely not to have much impact.
If you believe you have been improperly classified and are entitled to overtime, or have any questions regarding classification of employees in compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act, Faulkner Law Offices, PLLC has decades of experience in wage and hour matters.