No Overtime Pay for Mortgage Bankers, 6th Circuit Rules

Employees seeking overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act continue to run up against the various exemptions to the law. One of these exemptions is for employees who make not less than $455 a week, who 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 who exercise discretion and independent judgment on significant matters.

Applying this exemption, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Oct. 25 ruled that mortgage bankers working for Quicken Loans were not entitled to overtime pay.

To satisfy the management-related prong, the employee’s “primary duty” must involve “work directly related to the management or general business operations” of the company or its customers.  According to the U.S. Department of Labor:

“Employees in the financial services industry generally meet the duties requirements for the administrative exemption if their duties include work such as collecting and analyzing information regarding the customer’s income, assets, investments or debts; determining which financial products best meet the customer’s needs and financial circumstances; advising the customer regarding the advantages and disadvantages of different financial products; and marketing, servicing, or promoting the employer’s financial products. However, an employee whose primary duty is selling financial products does not qualify for the administrative exemption.”

The evidence supported the jury’s finding that the first sentence of this statement more aptly described the mortgage bankers’ “primary duty” than the second, the appeals court said.

As to the discretion-and-independent-judgment prong,  Quicken had to show that the mortgage bankers’ “primary duty includes the exercise of discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance.”

The appeals court summarized thusly: “The jury concluded—after listening to forty witnesses and five weeks of testimony—that the mortgage bankers’ interactions with customers fit this description. That is a reasonable finding of fact, leaving us no basis for disturbing it.”

Read the entire opinion here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: