New Jersey Court Discusses Exemptions to FLSA Overtime Guarantees

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers are required to adhere to certain wage guidelines. Among other things, the FLSA obligates employers to pay an employee overtime wages for any time he or she works that is in excess of 40 hours a week. There are certain exceptions to the FLSA overtime guarantees for employees that are deemed exempt, however. In a recent case, the United States District Court of New Jersey analyzed what an employer must establish to prove the executive exemption to the FLSA applies. If you worked more than 40 hours per week but did not receive overtime wages, you should speak with a knowledgeable New Jersey overtime rights attorney to discuss whether you may be able to pursue a claim against your employer for overtime wages.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiffs’ Employment

Allegedly, the plaintiffs collectively worked as sales managers for the defendant garden and lawn supply store. The parties disputed whether the plaintiffs performed managerial duties or whether the majority of their time was spent doing merchandising work. Additionally, it was disputed how much time, if any, the plaintiffs spent supervising seasonal employees who worked below them. The plaintiffs filed a class action lawsuit against the defendant, alleging the defendant violated the FLSA by failing to pay them overtime wages. Plaintiffs and defendants both filed motions for summary judgment. Upon review the court denied both motions.

Exemptions Under the FLSA

The FLSA sets forth federal overtime guarantees that cannot be contractually waived. White collared employers who are paid a salary rather than an hourly wage are exempt from coverage under the FLSA. The courts have interpreted this to mean anyone in a bona fide administrative, executive, or professional capacity. Employers bear the burden of proving that an exemption to the FLSA overtime guarantee applies.

In the subject case, the plaintiffs argued that they did not regularly or customarily supervise two or more employees as required to fall under the executive exemption from coverage under the FLSA. The court noted that regularly and customarily activity is activity that is greater than occasional but less than constant. Regularly and customary activity does not include one-time tasks but is activity that is recurrently performed every work week.

In the subject case, the plaintiffs presented charts that set forth data produced by the defendant that showed the amount of time the plaintiffs spent completing tasks each week. The defendants argued, however, that the charts were inaccurate and incomplete and should not be relied on by the court. The court ultimately ruled that there was a material issue of fact as to whether the exemption applied and therefore denied both parties’ motions for summary judgment.

Meet with a Skilled New Jersey Overtime Rights Attorney

If your employer tried to unjustly deny you overtime by incorrectly applying an FLSA exemption you should meet with a skilled New Jersey overtime rights attorney regarding your case and what damages you may be able to recover.  The seasoned New Jersey overtime rights attorneys of Jaffe Glenn Law Group will work tirelessly to help you seek any compensation you may be able to recover You can contact us at 201-687-9977 or through the online form to set up a confidential and free consultation to discuss your case.

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