Overtime Pay for Information Technology Workers

Information technology workers are notoriously overworked. They put in long hours, field endless emergency calls in and out of regular hours, get no credit when things go well and take the blame when anything goes wrong. Moderns cities like Atlanta have more than their share of IT workers.

But because of an often- misunderstood FLSA computer worker exemption form overtime pay, IT workers are often shut out of overtime that they are actually entitled to. This exemption has become the subject of discussion boards among the computer literate, and IT workers have been suing their companies, and winning, for denied overtime.

Employers often misinterpret a very narrow FLSA overtime exemption that applies to some computer workers, specifically exempting from overtime pay employees who are involved in the application of systems analysis techniques, or who develop or design software or operating systems, or perform related functions.

But there are, of course, a large number of computer workers whose job functions do not fall into these narrow categories. It is always a good idea to get a specific job description from your employer, but if you’re an IT worker, it would seem to be a good idea for you to pay particular attention to the way that your job is actually classified.

Because of the multiple functions many IT workers has to accomplish during the course of a day, it may be difficult to classify any specific individual as fitting within the narrow “computer worker” exemption. At the same time, an IT worker may or may not come in under another exemption, like the “administrative executive” exemption.

Any attempt to classify computer workers one way or the other is going to run into a recent DOL opinion letter, which said that IT support specialists are not exempt employees under either the administrative or computer employee exemptions.

The letter said that the primary duties of analyzing, troubleshooting, and resolving problems with an employer’s computer applications, networks, and hardware don’t fit into the administrative exemption requirements of exercising “discretion and independent judgment.” Those job duties also don’t fit into the programming and other functions of the computer specialist.

But this is a very complicated area, and each case needs an individual analysis. If you think you may have been misclassified as exempt and denied overtime pay, Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP can help protect your rights.