Employers typically rely on one of the three white-collar exemptions — administrative, executive or learned professional — when making arguments as to why an employee is not eligible for overtime.
A new federal district court case out of Connecticut illustrates the danger in assuming that one of the exemptions will apply, without a searching factual examination.
In Arasimowicz v. All Panel Systems, LLC et al (download here), the court was asked to review whether a CAD detailing and drawing position was exempt from overtime rules. The court, after a searching examination of the record, concluded it was not.
The court’s opinion is worth a read because the judge thoroughly addresses some typical arguments made by an employer — that the position involved specialized knowledge, or that the position involved direct support of management policies — and disposes of them fairly easily.
Notably, there haven’t been many cases in Connecticut to address this type of position, but employers in Connecticut who have CAD draftsmen ought to do a detailed review of the position to ensure their compliance with state and federal wage laws.
For remaining employers, the case is worth a review because it demonstrates that positions aren’t always what they seem. Many employers have had exempt employees for so long that they have stopped worrying about whether their employees are actually exempt. This case ought to serve as a wake up call that if don’t audit yourself, you run the risk that a court will do it for you.