Overtime pitfalls: The lurking traps

A rash of wage-and-hour lawsuits is drawing attention to the often-overlooked complexities of overtime pay laws. Think you don't owe overtime? Check our gallery of potential tripwires.

Illustrations by Terry Allen for Fortune Small Business.

"Executive" Assistant
One frequent miscategorization assumes that an executive assistant who is paid on salary is automatically exempt from overtime rules; after all, the title sounds like the FLSA exempt categories "executive" or "administrative."

Here's a good rule of thumb: If an employee doesn't have "change of status" power over at least two other employees, he probably doesn't qualify for an executive exemption.

Likewise, an assistant isn't an executive just because she has "control" over access to the CEO; if that assistant actually has the power to sit in meetings and make decisions in the CEO's place, then the exemption is more likely to hold.

Last updated January 22 2008: 8:59 AM ET

The $23,660 Rule

"Executive" Assistant

IT Employees

Extra Hours


Comp Time

Stock Options

The Cog Factor

The Overtime Bomb
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