Employees generally are eligible for overtime if they work more than 40 hours of work, unless one of the limited exceptions applies.

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.


  • Peter Goselin

    Dan, I think there is another problem with the assumptions that an employer may make about employees’ exempt status when that status has been in place for many years. As technology changes certain jobs, what were once considered highly-skilled positions where an employee exercised a great deal of discretion and independent judgment are becoming much more routinized. Especially when the software changes but the employee stays the same, the employer may not see the de-skilling of a position taking place or recognize its impact.

  • Richard Hayber

    This case is also noteworthy in that Judge Hall followed the 2d Circuit’s jurisprudence in holding that an employee is not an administrative employee if his/her work is related to the production of the product or service the company sells. This “production worker dichotomy” has been criticized by other circuits, but it is alive and well here in the 2d Circuit and Judge Hall followed it to the letter.