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Labor & Employment Law

: Ross' Employment Law Blog

Harris v Superior Court - Administrative exemption in California

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Today's big decision out of California is Harris v. Superior Court, an employer-favoring opinion on how to tell whether an employee is exempt under the California Labor Code and thus not entitled to statutory overtime.

The case deals with insurance claims adjusters, but it will apply across the board.

The California Court of Appeal had ruled that insurance claims adjusters are not exempt employees as a matter of law. The California Supreme Court unanimously reversed, finding that the Court of Appeal simply got the law wrong.

The Court of Appeal had said that the only employees who qualify as exempt are those whose work is "performed at the level of policy or general operations." Everyone else, then would be a production worker, and not exempt.

The Supreme Court rejected that bright line between administration and production. Indeed, the holding of the court went no further than that. The court said, "We merely hold that the Court of Appeal improperly applied the administrative/production worker dichotomy as a dispositive test."

However, if you want to read an interesting discussion of the details of the opinion, look at Cal Supreme Court Reverses Horrific Decision on Administrative Exemption But Declines to Provide Much Guidance on How Exemption Should Be Applied by Thomas Kaufman at Labor and Employment Law Blog.

Full post as published by Ross' Employment Law Blog on December 29, 2011 (boomark / email).

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