Re: Exempt status for Tech Writers

Subject: Re: Exempt status for Tech Writers
From: Ned Bedinger <doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 23 Feb 2009 23:21:52 -0800


For those who missed the last hashing out of the issue here, our
professional status in the U.S. was implied in law nearly 20 years ago,
first by the US Department of Labor (DOL), and then at the state level
(in some states). A consortium of computing and high tech employers
drove the effort to write and pass legislation in the states. The STC
endorsed the effort, which had the combined effect of institutionalizing
the 'professional' status of tech writers, while at the same time ending
legal entitlement to overtime pay for hourly tech writers (e.g., agency
contractors paid by the hour).

In California the industry-sponsored legislation was derailed and
modified to make tech writers eligible for overtime pay in that state.
As with the original DOL law, the California law leaves room for
interpretation of whether tech writers are specifically included or
excluded. High tech employers in California sometimes exercise their
preference for hiring tech writers as professionals exempt from overtime
pay requirements. The class action lawsuit (discussed here previously
and mentioned by the OP of this thread) will test whether employers have
that option or must pay tech writers as hourly employees eligible for
overtime pay.

I think I still have the useful DOL links and documents if anyone's
interested. The language in state legislation was very similar to the DOL.

Obviously, California is where most interest in these issues roosts
today. The San Jose Mercury covered the story of the tech writer at Sun
lawsuit while it was news, search there for links to the story and some
little op-ed pieces.

Ned Bedinger
doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com

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Follow-Ups:

References:
Exempt status for Tech Writers: From: beelia
Re: Exempt status for Tech Writers: From: Ed
RE: Exempt status for Tech Writers: From: Sarah Stegall
Re: Exempt status for Tech Writers: From: Gene Kim-Eng

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