Employment-Eleventh Circuit Rules That Plaintiff Falls Within Administrative Exemption From FLSA’s Overtime Requirement

In Adams v. BSI Management Systems America, Inc., No. 13-10748 (11th Cir. 2013) (Unpublished Opinion), the plaintiff, Beth Adams (“Adams”), was appealing the district court’s grant of summary judgment in the defendant’s favor.

In this case, the defendant, BSI Management Systems America, Inc. (“BSI”), had hired Adams as a Supply Chain Security Program Manager. According to the job posting, Adams was “responsible for assessing, documenting and incorporating multiple country level compliance programs into a single compliance system for international supplier assessments.” Adams reported directly to Dan Purtell, the Senior Vice President of BSI’s Supply Chain Solutions Group. BSI subsequently terminated Adams for inadequate performance. Adams then brought this suit, alleging that BSI violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (the “FLSA”) by failing to pay her overtime.

In analyzing the case, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals (the “Court”) noted that those who are employed in a bona fide administrative capacity are exempt from the FLSA overtime pay requirements. In turn, an employee is so employed if: (1) the employee is paid a salary of at least $455 per week, (2) the employee’s primary duty is the performance of office or non-manual work directly related to the management or general business operations of the employer or the employer’s customers and (3) the employee’s primary duty includes the exercise of discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance.

In this case, the Court continued, prong (1) was met. As to prong (2), Adams’ duties directly related to the management or general business operations of BSI and its customers, satisfying this prong. As to prong (3), Adams’ own testimony shows that she exercised independent discretion and judgment on matters of significance and therefore satisfied this prong. Since the Court found that all three prongs were met, it ruled that Adams comes within the administrative capacity exemption from FLSA overtime requiements, and it affirmed the district court’s summary judgment against her.