Re: Exempt status for Tech Writers

Subject: Re: Exempt status for Tech Writers
From: "Gene Kim-Eng" <techwr -at- genek -dot- com>
To: "Stephen Arrants" <steve -at- mbfbioscience -dot- com>, "TechWriter" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 24 Feb 2009 07:24:07 -0800

Technically, it is never up to you or the employer. The
distinction between non-exempt and exempt is set
down in law, and if your local jurisdiction doesn't have
it in theirs, the federal government has it in the FLSA.

The non-exempt/exempt test is not in how employees
are classified, but in how they are treated. Non-exempt
employees perform repetitive, time-based work that
does not require creative or independent judgement,
while exempt employees perform objective-based work
that does require judgement. For example, a non-exempt
DTP operator tasked to produce a 50-page document is
expected to produce a 50-page document, while an exempt
writer might make decisions that result in that expected
50-page document becoming either a 25-page or a
100-page document.

The writer bringing this lawsuit claims that she was hired
as an exempt, but was judged by how many hours
she worked, was required to work mandatory unpaid OT
when there was not workload that called for it, and was
judged negatively based on her unwillingness to do it.
This is a genuine issue, because a person hired as an
exempt was (allegedly) being treated as a non-exempt,
and if true the writer had an opportunity to redress this
and show that employers cannot hire writers as exempts
and then treat them as non-exempts. Unfortunately, the
course her attorneys chose to pursue was to argue that
she was treated as a non-exempt and therefore ALL
technical writers are non-exempt.

To date, Sun has chosen not to respond to the specifics
of the lawsuit in public, except to claim that the writer
required higher levels of supervision than other writers
due to her poor performance.

Gene Kim-Eng



----- Original Message -----
From: "Stephen Arrants" <steve -at- mbfbioscience -dot- com>
>A few things to remember. It may not be up to you or the employer to
> classify you as exempt or non-exempt. Classification can be due to labor
> laws in your jurisdiction.
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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: Stephen Arrants

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