The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) defines overtime as any time spent working after eight hours a day or 40 hours a week. It also requires all employers to pay their workers one and one half times their normal hourly rate for all the overtime they spend working. There are some exceptions to the rule of overtime compensation, but the FLSA is very specific about the types of employees that can qualify for exemption from the overtime compensation requirement. Nevertheless, there are times when the line between who qualifies and who doesn’t can get a little blurry.
Under the FLSA, an employee can qualify to be held exempt from overtime if they fit into one of three categories: administrative, executive, or professional. In order to qualify for the administrative category, an employee must perform primarily office work and provide assistance directly to an executive. For the executive category, an employee has to spend the majority of her time managing other employees, have the authority to discipline those employees, and have direct say in the hiring and firing of those employees. The professional category is made up of all those workers whose jobs require a particular set of skills or level of higher education. Attorneys, doctors, and entertainers are just some of the types of workers who generally fit into the professional category.
Certified public accountants also fit into the professional category, but, according to a recent wage and hour class action lawsuit against PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC, auditors do not. Continue reading