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FLSA Exemption Test: Everything You Need to Know

Published April 6, 2022 by Employment and Commerce Law Group
FLSA Exemption Test: Everything You Need to Know

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) outlines which employees in the United States can receive overtime pay. Many workers are eligible for overtime, but those who aren’t are considered exempt employees.

Unfortunately for many workers, employers frequently misclassify employees who should be eligible for overtime as exempt, either by mistake or a desire to save money. Employers should conduct an exemption test to determine whether an employee is eligible for overtime. Keep reading to learn about overtime exemptions whether your employer could be denying you the pay you deserve. 

Exempt or Nonexempt?

Federal regulations state that most employees who make less than $684 per week (roughly $35,500 per year before taxes) are eligible for overtime if they work more than 40 hours in a given workweek. This rule applies regardless of whether employees are paid hourly or are salaried.

For an employer to legally block an employee from receiving overtime pay, the employee must meet specific exemption requirements laid out under the Fair Labor Standards Act. If you do not meet these requirements, are making less than $684 per week, and your employer is not paying you overtime, talk to a lawyer right away.

The Exemption Test

Before an employer can deny an employee from receiving overtime pay, the employer must conduct an exemption test. First, the employee must make more than $684 per week. Second, the employee must fall into one of the following categories of exempt workers:

  • Administrative workers — Workers who perform office duties related to managing or the business’s general operations, not including manual labor
  • Company executives — Workers who primarily handle management duties, hire or fire other workers, and supervise at least two full-time employees or an equivalent number of part-time employees
  • Certain professional workers — This category includes “learned professionals” who work in fields requiring specialized knowledge (e.g., doctors, lawyers, academic professors) and “creative professionals” who work on the artistic side of some creative project.
  • “Highly compensated” workers — This is a catch-all category that includes anyone in a business who makes at least $107,432 per year and primarily handles executive functions.
  • Computer workers — This category includes computer programmers, software engineers, systems analysts, and other workers with similar job duties. Essentially, the employee’s duties must involve designing, analyzing, or working with computer software or hardware somehow.
  • Outside sales workers — Workers who obtain orders or contracts for their business’s services or use of their business’s facilities. To qualify for this exemption, an outside sales worker must spend most of their time away from their employer’s primary place of business.

Have You Been Misclassified as an Exempt Worker Under the FLSA? Contact Us Today

The Tennessee overtime lawyers at the Employment and Commerce Law Group are dedicated to protecting the rights of workers who are not being treated fairly. If you believe you are being denied overtime pay you earned, contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced employment attorney

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