Job duties, not job titles dictate OT exemption status

Certain employees are exempt from overtime pay under the FLSA. Sadly, many employers will give employees certain titles so they fall under the exemption. But the exemption goes beyond just a title.

The Fair Labor Standards Act, first passed in 1938, is a federal law that regulates various areas of the employment arena such as overtime pay. Specifically, the law stipulates that employers must pay certain employees, referred to as "nonexempt," 1.5 times their rate of pay for every extra hour they work over 40 hours in a week.

But there are certain employees, classified as "exempt," who do not qualify for overtime pay under the law. Exempt employees can legally work over 40 hours a week without any extra pay.

Sadly, many employers take measures to circumvent overtime pay mandates. Some will misclassify certain employees so they fall under the exemption. But simply because employees possess certain job titles does not automatically disqualify them from overtime pay under the law. The employee exemption will always depend on the employee's work responsibilities.

Executive and managerial positions are two common examples. Individuals with these positions are typically exempt from FLSA overtime pay. However, both executive and management positions must also meet certain factors.

Executive employees

Employees with executive positions must be paid on a salary basis of at least $455 per week. They must also oversee the work of subordinate individuals working in a department. Executive positions also typically possess the responsibility of hiring and firing employees under their supervision.

Managerial employees

Managerial positions must also meet certain factors in order to remain exempt from overtime pay. A manager's duties traditionally must consist of managing clients or business operations as their normal job requirements, not completing manual office obligations.

Other exempt employees

Executive and managerial positions are the two most common types of employment positions exempt from overtime pay under the FLSA, but there are other positions as well. Professionals who possess a masters or doctorate degree, such as lawyers, doctors, and dentists, are also exempt. Seasonal employees, those working in the fishing industry, and certain farm workers are also excluded from overtime pay.


In order for employers to legally exempt workers from overtime pay, the workers must carry specific duties that go in tandem with their titles. If they don't meet the requirements and force employees to work overtime without pay, employers could be held responsible under the law.

Individuals who suspect that their positions mandate overtime pay are encouraged to speak with an employment law attorney who understands the intricate areas of U.S. wage and hour regulations. A lawyer can assess specific situations and offer guidance on next steps.

Keywords: overtime pay, exempt employees