Important Notice:
This site has moved to, please update your bookmarks. If you were looking for a specific post, you can use the site search option or archives at the new domain to find it. Thank you!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I Want to Be Exempt

Hi Evil HR Lady,

I have a question. I work in Human Resources for a casino and today was told that my status is being changed from exempt to non-exempt. When I asked why, I was told that it was because I had some clerical duties in my position (my co-worker, who has the same title as me, was told that it was because she didn’t directly supervise anyone). Of course, being the HR employee that I am, I decided to investigate this issue myself. From my investigation, I am thinking that the company is wrong. I understand that in order to be classified as Administrative Exemption, I need to meet the following criteria:

To qualify for the administrative employee exemption, all of the following tests must be met:
The employee must be compensated on a salary or fee basis (as defined in the regulations) at a rate not less than $455 per week;
The employee’s primary duty must be the performance of office or non-manual work directly related to the management or general business operations of the employer or the employer’s customers; and
The employee’s primary duty includes the exercise of discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance.

I meet the salary test. I understand that the last two criteria are a little bit obtuse, but based on reading the detailed information on the DOL’s website, I feel that I due pass that last two criteria based on the following:

1 – I not only recruit (and by recruit I mean attending college job fairs, visiting schools and unemployment agencies, and traveling internationally for recruitment), but I also pre-screen and at times directly hire employees for my company. I also plan and implement Job Fairs for the company.

2- A significant portion of my position is to advise directors, managers, and supervisors in the areas of hiring and compensation. By compensation, I mean that as reviews, transfers, and promotions come in, I make sure that they actions are all within our employee transfer and promotions guidelines and fall within our compensation policy. If they do not fall within company guidelines, I advise the steps to get the position or salary changed with our corporate office.

Just based on this information, what are you thoughts? I have been doing some research for the pros and cons of being exempt and I have found that a con is that it will be more difficult for a person with a non-exempt status to find an exempt position just for the fact that it would appear that the person doesn’t have as much in depth knowledge of the job and that bothers me. I feel that my work directly contributes to the organization (I actually have over 6 years of experience in HR). I understand that overtime is a plus, but am not feeling good about this situation in general.

I would really appreciate if you could tell me whether you think that my position sounds exempt and if so, what steps I should take next.

Confused Employee

I'm not going to attempt to make a determination on whether or not your job should be exempt or non-exempt. You are correct on the criteria. "Some" clerical duties does not make your job non-exempt in and of itself. Most professionals have "some" clerical duties. There are admins in my department, but I file things myself, make copies when I need them, and do other similar things. But, this is less than 1% of my job.

Your company may be extra paranoid about classifying people. There's no penalty for giving someone overtime pay when it's not legally required, but there's a big penalty for not doing so. So, now you are overtime eligible. Yippee!

But, I think your real problem is you feel like the company doesn't respect you for your professional abilities. They look at you and think, "gee all she does is hire people and file resumes, and copy driver's licenses and social security cards for I-9 forms. No way can we justify that position as exempt." And you are thinking, "I advise managers, travel, find quality employees, reduce turnover and provide valuable insights which allow the company to operate more effectively."

The problem isn't between being exempt or non-exempt. It's in being respected. (Not that non-exempt jobs are not to be respected. They are, and extremely valuable to an organization.)

Write up a job description for your job and review it with your manager. She may have no idea all the things that you do. If your manager and you agree on what your position is and they still want to keep it non-exempt, then relish the overtime.

Keep in mind that you don't have to put on your resume: Recruiter (non-exempt position), you can just put Recruiter.

No comments: