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August 18, 2010
What Type of Work Qualifies a High-Tech Worker for Exemption?

Through a BLR webinar entitled ‘High-Tech Workers: Who’s Entitled to Overtime and Who’s Not; Avoid the Top 5 Most Common Mistakes’, Allen Kato discusses how high-tech workers can qualify for professional or administrative exemptions. He provides the following information regarding these exemptions:

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  • There are many job positions that can be eligible for or gain access to the professional or administrative exemption
  • The critical component involves discretion and independent judgment versus the exercise of highly skilled tasks
  • If an employee is involved with co-workers or externally with customers in the area of information technology support, such an employee may be doing highly technical work. However, this employee is not considered to qualify for professional exemptions if the individual does not exercise independent discretion and judgment
  • However, if this same employee has the authority to decide to replace a computer, for example, this individual has displayed individual judgment and discretion. Hence, this individual would qualify for these exemptions

Allen M. Kato, Esq., is an attorney in the San Francisco, California office of law firm Fenwick & West, LLP ( His practice concentrates exclusively on representing management in wage and hour, equal employment opportunity, unfair competition and trade secret matters, and privacy matters; and litigating individual and class action wage and hour, wrongful discharge, employment discrimination, and unfair competition matters before courts and agencies. He also trains managers and HR professionals on a regular basis.

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