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August 17, 2010
Sales Personnel and Exemption Checklists in Your Organization

In 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 sales and highly-paid professionals in an organization. He discusses the exemptions that are associated with sales personnel such as inside sales, outside sales and highly compensated employees. More information on these categories is provided below:

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  • Outside Sales Exemption: These are those who work over half the time away from the office selling products or services. This includes visiting customer sites and making sales during that time period
  • Inside Sales Exemption: These are those who are paid at least 1.5 times the minimum wage and over half of compensation is commission. This can be a difficult exemption to administer and it can be particularly difficult to apply when the organization is experiencing a dry spell or financial difficulties. Also, the federal exemption can only be applied to retail work and not commercial sales
  • Highly Compensated Employees Exemption: These employees make at least $100,000 total annual compensation. Their duties also meet one of the duties exemptions such as professional and executive duties exemption. $100,000 or more must include at least $455 per week paid on a salary or fee basis. The highly compensated employee performs office or non-manual work. Also, this individual customarily and regularly performs at least one of the duties of an exempt employee

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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