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Are IT Employees Entitled To Be Paid Overtime At Time And A Half?

On Behalf of | Jan 14, 2014 | Wage: Minimum Wage, Wage: Overtime |

Overtime Law Attorneys answers: Am I entitled to overtime pay? What should I do if I’m working over 40 hours and not getting time and a half? Are IT employees exempt from overtime requirements?

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Most IT employees are told, and simply accept, that they are not entitled to be paid overtime wages at time and a half.  If you have been told this by your employer, you may be entitled to back overtime pay. Normally, when we think about IT employees or employees who work as computer programmers, software engineers, computer systems analysts or of the like, these types of jobs are instantly removed from the discussion of whether the employee may be entitled to overtime compensation. This thought is based on the Fair Labor Standards Act’s specific exemption (a provision that disqualifies the employee from receiving overtime pay) that applies to employees with IT-related jobs. This Computer Professional Exemption exemption looks at the employee’s “primary duty” in terms of his/her job and must consist of one of the following:

1.     The application of systems analysis techniques and procedures, including consulting with users, to determine hardware, software or system functional specifications;

2.     The design, development, documentation, analysis, creation, testing or modification of computer systems or programs, including prototypes, based on and related to user or system design specifications;

3.     The design, documentation, testing, creation or modification of computer programs related to machine operating systems; or

4.     A combination of the aforementioned duties, the performance of which requires the same level of skills.

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Importantly, this exemption is a not a catch-all for employees who merely use a computer as part of their job or employees who manufacture or repair computers.

So what about someone who is employed by a company as an “IT professional” and who maintains, repairs and installs software on the company’s computers? Surely, this employee would fall under the Computer Professional Exemption, right? Not according to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in Martin v. Indiana Michigan Power Co. In Martin, the employee in question, Brenda Martin, was not exempted from receiving overtime compensation under the FLSA because the Court held that her job duties did not fall under any of the four requirements listed above. Rather, the Court held that Martin worked with software and computer systems that had pre-determined specifications set and created by others. These job duties fell outside the Computer Professional Exemption.

So what about an employee who diagnoses and attempts to fix customers’ software or internet problems? Surely, this employee would fall under the Computer Professional Exemption right? Not according to Hunter v. Sprint Corp., where a district court for the District of Columbia found that an employee whose “primary duty” was to assist customers in addressing internet connectivity issues and software problems was not an exempt employee for purposes of overtime compensation. Again, the Court focused on the fact that the employee in question was not “designing, creating, testing or modifying the actual system or program.”

The moral of the story…just because an employee works with computers, computer software, computer hardware, or any combination thereof, does not foreclose the possibility that he or she should be getting paid overtime compensation for working over 40 hours during a workweek. Your boss cannot misclassify you as exempt simply because your job involves a computer.

So, the moral of this overtime story is simply because your boss gives you the title of “IT consultant,” or puts you in the IT department does not mean that you are exempt from overtime laws that require payment of hours worked over 40 hours per week at time and a half.  Stated another way, simply because you work with computers or install software does not mean that your job can deny you time and half for your overtime hours. To be fair, nobody expects you to be able to figure out this law on your own.  Overtime laws are difficult and complex.

If you believe that your employer is not paying you all of your wages for all of your lawfully earned overtime compensation at a rate of one and half times your normal wages as requires under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act or Ohio Fair Labor Standards Act, contact the attorneys at Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm today for a free and confidential initial consultation.  Or maybe you are being misclassified as an independent contractor. The wage and hour lawyers at Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm will provide you with the best options for your overtime pay dispute situation.  If you even think that you may be entitled to overtime pay that you are not being paid, call 866-797-6040.


The materials available at the top of this overtime, wage and hour web page and at this employment law website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. If you are still asking, “Am I entitled to overtime?”, “Does my job have to pay me for …”, “My paycheck is not right…” or “What do I do if…”, the your best option is to contact an Ohio overtime attorney to obtain advice with respect to FLSA questions or any particular employment law issue. Use and access to this employment law website or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship. The legal opinions expressed at the top of this page or through this site are the opinions of the individual lawyer and may not reflect the opinions of Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm, Brian Spitz, or any individual attorney.

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