Re: Tech Writer Lawsuit

Subject: Re: Tech Writer Lawsuit
From: "Gene Kim-Eng" <techwr -at- genek -dot- com>
To: "Lauren" <lauren -at- writeco -dot- net>, "'TECHWR-L'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 18 May 2008 15:46:07 -0700

----- Original Message -----
From: "Lauren" <lauren -at- writeco -dot- net>
> That's how I understand it, but here's more from this guy, who
> was noisy then,
> http://www.andreas.com/faq-overtime.html

Why am I not surprised that this person is involved.
I'll refrain from further comment on this area.

> There has not been an interpretation yet on the extent of the exception.
> Does it mean that technical writers are computer software employees who are
> not exempt so they cannot be professional employees who are exempt? Or does
> it mean that technical writers are not computer software employees?

If it's the latter, then that means that anyone who ever
uses a computer in their work could be considered a
"computer software employee." I think the code is
fairly clear on this, at least, in order for writers to be
considered "computer software employees" they
have to actually be producing one or more of the the
specific document types listed in 5e. The installation
and service manuals for a PW307B turbofan engine
are not written by "computer software employees."

> Gene, I think that there is another possibility to the outcomes that you
> mentioned in another post. The court could rule in favor of Sun and rule
> that the overtime was acceptable for Hoenemier's job. This interpretation
> would mean that technical writers are covered under the professional
> exemption and that they are not computer software employees. Employers
> could interpret this to mean that technical writers, as professional
> employees, can earn less than half of what computer software employees do
> (based on the $16 and $36 per hour minimums). So salaries can go down and
> unpaid OT can go up for technical writers.

That scenario is covered in my Neutral (1); Hoenemier
loses, there is no workplace impact. Employers can
already pay technical writers as little as they think they
can and still attract applicants, and since most technical
writers are currently paid as professionals their pay can
already go down and unpaid OT go up.

Gene Kim-Eng
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