Case managers or caseworkers in the social work and healthcare fields are often paid a salary by their employers and are told that they will not be paid overtime as they are “exempt” from overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act. When hired, many employers tell the case managers that they will work 40 hours a week, so the issue of overtime is not significant. However, once they start working, they quickly learn that the job requires them to work 50-60 hours a week if they are to do the job properly. Despite the increased hours, the employers still refuse to pay overtime and assert that the Case Managers are exempt from overtime. Recent case law and actions of the Department of Labor have clarified this issue and are increasingly finding that Case Managers are entitled to overtime.
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, all employees are entitled to be paid overtime wages unless they qualify as an exempt employee under a specific FLSA exemptions. As discussed in detail in other employee classification articles, the fact that the employer classifies you as an exempt employee, or you agreed to work as an exempt employee, does not mean that you are not entitled to overtime. Instead, the FLSA and the Department of Labor have specific criteria which determine whether an employee qualifies as an exempt employee.
Employers usually argue that Case Managers are exempt from overtime under the Administrative exemption and/or the professional exemption. However, we believe that employers are misapplying these exemptions to case managers. In fact, in Talbott v. Lakeview, the Court agreed and found that Case Managers were NOT exempt from overtime and were entitled to overtime. Specifically, the Court held that the case managers did not meet the “administrative” or “professional” exemption. Likewise, recently, in a settlement with the Department of Labor, Molina Healthcare agreed to pay caseworkers back overtime when misclassified the caseworkers as exempt from overtime employees.
At the Law Office of J.J. Talbott, we have extensive experience in representing case managers and caseworkers in their claims for unpaid overtime. If you have questions as to whether you are properly considered an “exempt from “overtime” employee, give us a call for a free consultation.