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November 16, 2010
How Do You Select Which Jobs to Evaluate in an Overtime Exemption Analysis?

When an employer wants to begin an overtime exemption analysis, there are some tips to follow to get started. First of all, the project should be announced. This may be either limited to only those involved in the analysis, or it could be a broader announcement to employees, or somewhere in between. Next, it is important to educate the managers so they understand the basics of overtime exemption law. Finally, the company needs to determine which jobs to evaluate. In a BLR webinar titled "Advanced Exemption Audits: Evaluate Your Overtime Classifications Now To Avoid Costly Trouble Later," Mary Topliff, Esq., outlined some tips for employers to determine how to select which jobs to evaluate, such as jobs that raise “red flags," such as:

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  • Entry-level or trainee
  • Manager title but no direct reports
  • Catch-all titles, such as analyst, project manager, project specialist
  • Sales jobs with non-sales titles, such as account managers, account executives
  • Jobs that involve processing data, running reports

A good plan starts with the lowest paid exempt jobs, and analyzes any "gray area" exempt positions. An even better plan follows these job families up to an obvious cut-off point and ensures that any "red flag" jobs are included, regardless of pay or grade. The best plan goes a step further and includes all jobs below director level, and ensures that all "catch-all" titles, such as analyst or project manager are included. Naturally, the best analysis is not always a feasible option for every organization.

Mary Topliff, Esq. founded the Law Offices of Mary L. Topliff in San Francisco in 1997, after practicing civil and employment litigation for nine years. ( www.joblaw.com) The firm specializes in employment law counseling, training, and compliance, focusing on practical solutions to avoid costly legal issues. She has advised many organizations regarding overtime exemption analyses and strategies for minimizing the risk. Topliff is a published author and frequent speaker on legal issues impacting the workplace.

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