During his most recent State of the Union Address on January 28, 2014, President Barack Obama stated that one of his top priorities in the coming year was to address what he described as “stagnant wages.”  More importantly, he warned Congress that if they did not take steps to tackle the issue soon, he was prepared to attempt to address the issue unilaterally through exercise of his executive power.


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Employers who hold their breath and declare an employment position as “exempt” from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime previsions − all the while knowing that the exempt v. non-exempt question is a close call − should take a simple step to save themselves substantial damages should a court later rule the position non-exempt.

When entering into an employment arrangement with the employee, the employer should obtain the employee’s acknowledgement in writing that the employee’s weekly hours may fluctuate, and that each weekly portion of the employee’s annual salary will constitute payment for all hours worked during that week.


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In a recent decision, a federal district court judge held that Abbott Laboratories, Inc.’s pharmaceutical sales representatives do not qualify for either the outside sales or administrative exemptions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).  Under the FLSA, employers are required to pay overtime for hours worked over 40 in a week, unless an employee qualifies for an exemption under the Act. While the FLSA contains many such exemptions, the most commonly used exemptions are the executive, outside sales, and administrative exemptions.  Each exemption has specific requirements that must be met.


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