Recent Sixth Circuit Court Of Appeals Case Holds That Primary Duty Determination For FLSA Administrative Exemption Is A Question Of Fact For The Jury.
A recent decision by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals could prove helpful to employees suing their former or current employers for unpaid overtime compensation pay. In Henry v. Quicken Loans, Inc., the Court weighed in on the question of whether several plaintiff employees fell under the Administrative exemption contained within the Fair Labor Standards Act, thus making them exempt from the protection of Federal overtime compensation laws.
Although the Court did not disturb the jury’s verdict against the plaintiff employees, not to be lost in the decision is the Court’s holding that the Primary Duty determination is a question of fact reserved for the jury.
What is the Primary Duty determination? It is simply one of the three specific requirements that an employer must prove apply to an employee in order for that employee to be considered exempt from Federal and Ohio overtime laws. Specifically, as part of the Administrative exemption, the law states that “the employee’s primary duty must be the performance of office or non-manual directly related to the management or general business operations of the employer or the employer’s customers.” The significance of Henry, is that in situations where there are material factual disputes over an employee’s “primary” duties during their employment, the final determination of what that “primary” duty is rests solely with the jury.
Moving forward, the Henry decision could prove to be significant authority favoring plaintiff employees when their former employers file a motion for summary judgment, claiming that the employees are exempt from the overtime laws based on the administrative exemption. Essentially, after the Henry decision, if employees can present any evidence creating a factual dispute regarding their “primary” duties during their employment, such evidence, per Henry, is enough to prompt the Court to deny the motion for summary judgment.
As a result, the Henry decision not only will impact outcomes at the summary judgment phase, but in turn will also impact how attorneys evaluate and litigate wage and hour cases in the future.
If you even think that your employment rights have been violated or that you might need an employment lawyer, then call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential consultation at 866-797-6040. The Spitz Law Firm is dedicated to protecting employees’ rights and solving employment disputes.
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