Labor Relations Expert Discusses Exempt Duty Dispute

Labor Relations Expert WitnessThis case relates to the alleged misclassification of executive and administrative exemptions at a large OEM firm in the automotive space. These exemptions require managers spend a significant proportion of their duties on exempt work. It was claimed that this class of employees do not manage the enterprise, nor are they the head of any distinct department or subdivisions of the company. It was also claimed that the multitude of operational policies and procedures take away any meaningful discretion from the employees who do not otherwise perform duties of substantial significance to the company.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Are you able to determine what is and what is not an exempt duty?

Expert Witness Response E-101272

I have worked on a lot of these cases as a statistician. Typically I am tasked with determining if 50% or more of employees’ time is spent performing non-exempt tasks. I have also been asked to calculate damages, either assuming liability and/or after the case has proceeded to the damages phase. As a statistician, normally I defer to either the attorneys or an HR expert to determine if a task is exempt or not. However, I am generally familiar with what tasks tend to be exempt and what tasks tend to be non-exempt. Moreover, my understanding is that if someone is performing both non-exempt and exempt tasks at the same time, the non-exempt work prevails. It is all about what the employees are doing with their “hands and feet,” so to speak. For example, if a store manager is stocking shelves and managing people at the same time, the fact that s/he is stocking shelves takes precedent. I am very familiar with both Duran v. US Bank and Bell v. Farmers. I have written an article about Duran v. US Bank, particularly concerning the implications at class certification. This article is listed in my CV and is available upon request. I routinely perform statistical sampling, and I have done so to gauge variability in terms of how people spend their time. Normally this is performed, at least in part, using a survey or observational study. If there are some data already available, even better.


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