Exempt or not? Train execs on classifications.

Plaintiffs' lawyers love to file lawsuits alleging an employee was improperly classified as an exempt "manager" under the Fair Labor Standards Act. That's because just one misclassification mistake with a group of employees can force employers to pay out hundreds of thousands in back pay.

Avoid that fate by training everyone with the authority to set job duties, schedules and pay how to properly classify workers as either exempt or nonexempt.

Recent case: A U.S. Department of Labor investigation found that a group of Dairy Queens in Texas misclassified 31 workers as exempt "managers." They should have been hourly, nonexempt workers who were eligible for overtime. The court ruled they were owed $358,000 in back overtime pay. (Walsh v. Dairy Queen, WD TX)

Advice: Remember, the FLSA sets strict criteria for classifying someone as an exempt manager:

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