White Collar Enough? FLSA Exemptions for Executive, Administrative, and Professional Job Duties

Many nonprofits are acutely aware that the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) salary threshold for the white collar exemption soon will more than double to $913 per week ($47,476 per year).  Another critical requirement for the white collar exemption’s applicability is the right job category, such as executive, administrative, or professional.  Absent such qualifying job duties, an employee will not fall within the exemption – even if his or her salary exceeds the salary threshold – and therefore will qualify for overtime pay as a non-exempt employee.  How are these job categories defined, and how can nonprofit employers make sure they properly classify their exempt employees?

Federal Court Denies Title VII Sexual Orientation Claim, But With Serious Reservations About Underlying Rationale

Federal employment discrimination claims made on the basis of the plaintiff’s sexual orientation are not permissible in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin, at least for now.   The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled against a woman’s employment discrimination claim based on sexual orientation, concluding that Title VII’s protection against discrimination based on “sex” does not extend to “sexual orientation.”  Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College (7th Cir. July 28, 2016).  In so ruling, the court adhered to its binding precedent mandating the result.  However, the court also concluded that excessively blurred lines exist between protection for gender-nonconforming claims (those in which adverse employment action was based on the employee’s failure to conform to others’ views on how a person of the employee’s gender should look or act),  which enjoy some protection under Title VII, and sexual orientation claims, which do not.

Educating Nonprofit Employees: Pre-Tax Benefits

Imagine an employee who graduated with a degree in mathematics, handles finances for your nonprofit, and now wants to develop her skills by taking classes.  May the nonprofit help ease the accompanying tuition pain through pre-tax educational assistance?  To what extent may a nonprofit employer offer pre-tax educational benefits to its employees who seek to improve themselves, as a wonderful employee perk?   The short two-part answer is (a) up to $5,250, but with certain program conditions, or (b) to an unlimited monetary amount, so long as the educational program will develop the employee’s skills within her current role, and not prepare her for a different profession.