Is it legal to change an employee from exempt to nonexempt status if that employee is considered a ‘professional’ according to the Department of Labor definition?

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Is it legal to change an employee from exempt to nonexempt status if that employee is considered a ‘professional’ according to the Department of Labor definition?

I have been employed as a salaried employee for 10 years at my job. I
am a professional educator with a degree,teaching license, and 35
years of experience. I was notified last week that I am being changed
to nonexempt status as of December 1, 2016 when the new FLSA takes
effect. My salary is lower than the new exempt employee standard. I
have also been informed that overtime is usually not approved and that
I should plan my schedule accordingly. I work for a nonprofit agency,
but that should not make a difference should it? I would greatly
appreciate any guidance you can give me on this matter. Thank you.

Asked on November 8, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

It is perfectly legal: being a "professional" *allows* the employer treat you as an exempt employee (if the salary base would be high enough) if it chooses, but does not require it. Any employee may be non-exempt  salaried or hourly if the employer wants that in its sole discretion, and employers may freely schedule employees so as to avoid overtime and/or refuse to approve overtime work.


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