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Joseph
Joseph, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
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Experience:  Extensive experience representing employees and management
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Im an RN working as a shift supervisor for 10 yrs. 4 yrs

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I'm an RN working as a shift supervisor for 10 yrs. 4 yrs ago my employer decided that all supervisors must become exempt. No reason was given, but it's pretty obvious they didn't want to pay us overtime. It's my understanding that being exempt means that your hours are not set and you do not need to be replaced. We are required to work specific hours (shifts) that include weekends and holidays- other exempt staff here do not. The real burn for me is the financial end of this. Because we're exempt, we've not been receiving the annual across the board increase for RN's- which usually amounts to 5%. We only get merit increases, usually 3%. The RN staff get both- usually 8-9%!! In addition, the other exempt staff, because they manage a dept are eligible for yearly bonus's- which can vary from 10-20K. We are stuck! I know this may not be illegal, but it's so unfair! Is there any case for us to make about being exempt? I've had discussions with HR about my concerns, but they say nothing. Thanks in advance for help!

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer.

 

I'm sorry to hear about your situation and hope I can help.

 

Can you tell me how many employees (nurses) do you supervise?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.


I'm the house supervisor on the swing shift- average number of staff that I supervise is 15-20, depending on census and acuity. A lot of what I do is gopher work- small hosp so depts aren't open after 5- I get charts from medical records, food trays for admits, a little bit of everything. I don't hire and/or fire staff, at most I do counseling and write up's for their manager to address. I do work on time cards some, but ultimately have no authority to sign them off. I audit charts, I even do pt care from time to time- although it's relatively rare.

Hello Kaaren,

 

Unfortunately, you do qualify as an exempt employee, since as a nurse you are considered a 'learned professional,' so you may be payed on an hourly basis or a salaried basis.

 

See the Department of Labor's website on the topic:

 

http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/fairpay/fs17n_nurses.htm

 

You would also qualify for the managerial/administrative exemption, since your primary duty is to supervise other staff.

 

As a salaried employee, your salary is not dependent on the number of hours that you work, meaning that if you perform any work in a week, you are entitled to your salary for that week.

 

However, as an at-will employee, your employer is free to set a schedule for you, even as an exempt employee, requiring that you be at work at certain times, including nights and weekends.

 

Your employer cannot refuse to pay you, however, if you work any hours during the week. However, your employer would be within its rights to discipline you for missing a shift, up to and including, termination.

 

I wholeheartedly agree that your situation is unfair and that it is completely illogical for you to not be receiving higher raises as a supervisor compared to other nurses, but unfortunately, your employer is not doing anything illegal in classifying you as a salaried employee.

 

However, due to your value as a shift supervisor, I highly suggest that you request a higher raise and bonus, possibly with other shift supervisors, since the current system is very unfair while being legal.

 

That said, since there's no law being violated, an attorney is not going to be able to assist you, unless you want to hire an attorney to negotiate a better salary and benefits package for you.

 

I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX had better news to give you, but I hope you appreciate a direct and honest answer your question.

 

Please let me know if you have any follow up questions.

 

If not, please remember to rate my answer highly so I get credit for my work.

 

Thanks and best of luck!

 

 

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