Administrative Assistants, Supervisors, Assistant Managers and Managers Who Are Improperly Classified as Exempt and Paid a Salary

Administrative Exemption. Companies often employ workers as “administrative assistants” to perform important tasks such as formulating bids, drafting studies and reports, and other work directly related to the company’s overall management or general business operations and which require the exercise of discretion and independent judgment.

If these employees in fact spend most or all of their work time performing such tasks, and meet the minimum salary level and other requirements for the administrative exemption to apply, they might be properly classified as exempt, and the employer may be excused from paying these employees overtime premium or any additional pay for overtime hours worked, or providing them other employee benefits such as timely and duty-free meal and rest breaks.

However, if salaried employees with the job title of “administrative assistant” or similar title implying that he or she regularly performs exempt work in fact spend most of their time performing secretarial work or other support tasks not involving the use of discretion and independent judgment, they might be misclassified as exempt, and consequently be owed significant compensation. Determining whether the actual work of a particular “administrative assistant” or similarly titled employee in fact qualifies under the FLSA or California administrative exemption is one issue that can be complex and highly factually dependent and should be reviewed by a lawyer who is familiar with the issues.

Milhaupt and Cohen has recovered money for unpaid wages and statutory penalties owed to many California service advisors, construction superintendents, and other salaried employees who were improperly misclassified under the administrative exemption.

Executive Exemption. As with the administrative exemption, determining whether a particular salaried “manager” or “supervisor” or “director” actually performs a sufficient amount of qualifying work, or otherwise possesses and exercises sufficient authority on the job, to qualify for the executive exemption can be complex and should be reviewed with a labor law attorney. Also, as with the situation of misclassified administrative employees discussed in the above paragraph, supposedly exempt managers who spend most of their work time doing the same work as the employees they manage or performing other nonexempt tasks may be owed significant compensation. Milhaupt and Cohen has recovered significant amounts for many salaried employees who were improperly misclassified under the executive exemption.

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