Recently I was asked a question, “Can I have two employees with the same job title, but with different exempt/nonexempt classifications?” The simple answer is yes, this is possible. From a compliance standpoint, federal and California law agree that job title is not determinative of exemption status. Under federal law, per the Department of Labor, “having some employees within the same job classification who perform the same duties but who are paid on a different (hourly) basis does not affect the status of any other exempt employees paid on a salary basis. Exemptions are not based upon a job title or job classification, but upon the salary and duties of each individual employee.” (29 C.F.R. Part 541). The California Department of Labor Standards also supports this position: DLSE Manual “Job Titles Are Not Determinative.” As with any exemption, job titles reflecting administrative classifications alone may not reflect actual job duties and do not determine exempt or nonexempt status. The actual determination of exempt or nonexempt status must be based on the nature of the work performed by the individual employee (DLSE manual 52.3.1).
To find out how and why you might want classify employees differently, read on.
Below is a brief review of the requirements to be properly classified as an exempt employee under the FLSA Executive, Administrative or Professional exemptions. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act employees may be classified as exempt when they:
These examples illustrate situations with the same job title but different exemption classifications.
However an employer classifies its employees, proper planning, clear communications, and adherence to federal and state guidelines should be implemented and conveyed.
Laura Henderson is a Human Resources professional with over 20 years experience working with a variety of businesses.