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New Fact Sheet Issued on Classifying Employees

The Department of Labor (DOL) has issued a new fact sheet setting forth guidelines concerning individuals who work in higher education and applicable exemptions. The guidelines affect thousands of employees, from teachers, to coaches, to student workers. Many of the higher education exemptions apply without regard to the salary basis test necessary to be considered exempt in other employment environments. If you are considered exempt, then you are not able to receive overtime compensation, regardless of the number of hours worked in any one work week.

For example, teachers (including online instructors) are generally considered exempt, and not entitled to overtime pay, regardless of the number of hours worked. A teacher is defined as one whose primary duty is to "instruct" or "lecture to impart knowledge." Similarly, coaches whose primary duty is instructing student athletes in their designated sport are typically considered exempt. However, where a coach's main duty in recruitment, then the exemption may not apply.

Additionally, professional employees of colleges and universities are typically exempt as long as they meet the "learned professionals" test as set forth in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and meet the Salary Basis test. Administrative and executive employees (which may include financial aid advisors, admissions counselors and department heads) must also meet the exemption criteria set forth by the Department of Labor in the FLSA, along with satisfying the Salary Basis test. Finally, some student employees may also be considered exempt.

The full fact sheet can be found here.

If you have any questions about your classification status and whether you should be considered exempt or non-exempt, regardless of position, it is important to contact the dedicated Atlanta wage and hour attorneys at Buckley Beal, LLP for an immediate consultation.

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