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Determining Exempt vs. Non-Exempt Status

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  • Determining Exempt vs. Non-Exempt Status

    I am trying to determine if I should be considered exempt or non-exempt. Currently I am considered exempt, however, I feel I should be considered non-exempt based on what I actually do. I also feel that my company has misclassified most of their employees and are not in compliance with the current Wage & Hour laws. I am trying to not only get paid for my overtime, but also help the other "Under Dogs" in getting paid for their overtime as well.

    This is how I have deterimined that I should be a non-exempt employee. Please provide me with your opinions if you feel I am misunderstanding the law. Today I contacted the local Georgia Labor Office to file a complaint and they are sending me the appropriate forms. Should I also contact a lawyer?

    My position is an Associate Product Manger. I develop new products for an arts & crafts company. My position is not a high level position and my duties are not at a very high level. I work on a team and am directed as to what to develop. I am not allowed to develop my own ideas. Of the the product development ideas come from upper managment and they provide my direction.

    Salary Level Test
    - This test I pass as I make $41,000/year as a salaried employee and the federal requirement is $455/week or $23,660/year.

    Salary Basis Test - This test I also pass as I get paid every two weeks and my paychecks are the same amount each time.

    The test I don't think I pass is the Job Duties Test. My job falls under the Administrative Classification.

    Job Duties Test - (A) Have the "primary duty" of performing office or non-manual work directly related the the managment or general business operations of the employer or employer's customers. (I'm pretty sure my job would pass qualification A)

    (B) customarily and regularly exercise discression and independent judgement with respect to matters of significance to the company or it's customers.

    I would have to say that my job does not embody qualification (B). I do not feel that I exercise discression and independent judgement with respect to matters of significance as I am directed in everything I do and must seek permission from upper management on any decision outside of the standard operating procedure. I found the following questions on the internet to help determine what "exercise discression and independent judgement with respect to matters of significance" means.

    1. Do you have authority to formulate, affect, interpret, or implement management policies or operating practices? No

    2. Do you carry out major assignments in conducting the operations of the business? No

    3. Do you perform work that affects business operations to a substantial degree? Possibly, if I don't do my work then no one else will

    4.Do you have authority to commit your employer in matters that have significant financial impact? No

    5.Do you have authority to waive or deviate from established policies and procedures without prior approval? No

    Please let me know if you think I have something here. This company is terrible to it's employees and I am fighting for myself and them.


  • #2

    Possibly. Can you provide a brief description of your daily activities (and, by the way, you don't need an attorney at this point). The following website provides examples of exempt employees. While your job is not on the list, it may give you a better feel for what constitutes an exempt responsibility:
    Last edited by LConnell; 06-10-2005, 11:41 AM.
    Lillian Connell

    Forum Moderator


    • #3
      I am responsible for functions in the development and launch of new products. The new products that I work on are given to me by my supervisor and then I follow our product development procedures to develop the product.

      During this process I meet with my supervisor on a weekly basis to discuss the status of my progress and to get permission or approvals on designs of the product. Everything I do, outside of the norm must be approved by my supervisor.

      1. I monitor the product development process from start to finish, while maintaining a timeline. The timeline is in a pre-designed spreadsheet with pre-labeled columns that I must fill in with my progress. Basically, this timeline tells me what to do next in developing the product.

      2. I work on developing product by working with my supervisor, other team members, designers and sourcing to establish product specifications. Each of these steps is listed on the timeline. I do not just decide on my own that I need to work with sourcing, I am instructed when to do so.

      3. I create presentation boards and PowerPoint presentations for selling the product. These presentations include what the product is, what you do with the product and what the benefits are of the product. All of the presentations must be approved by my supervisor.

      4. I am responsible for filling in the marketing and merchandising objectives for the product I am working on. Meetings are held to discuss what these strategies will be and I basically put it in a cohesive format for others to read.

      5. I write the wording that goes on the packaging. The wording must be approved by my supervisor before it can be used.

      6. Once the product has been designed and I have received all of the approvals, I am then instructed to fill out a form to order the product.

      That's pretty much what I do. I do not make my own decisions. I basically have to seek approval for everything.


      • #4

        Hmmm...the fact that you need approvals does not necessarily exclude you from exemption. It seems to me that, although you are required to gain approvals, you are exercising a certain amount of independent judgment in the determination of the product development.

        Since I am not at your worksite, it is not possible for me to give you a definitive answer. Continue with your claim with the state. Let me know if they determine that your job is a non-exempt position.
        Lillian Connell

        Forum Moderator