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The issue here is that while you are labeled management, the work you are doing is staff nursing. So the management exemption does not apply. There's another issue, however, in that nurses (even staff nurses without management responsibility) are professionally exempt, but, for whatever reason, employers have always paid nurses hourly and not even tried to exempt them. So where does this leave you? I think that you could make an argument to the COO that because you are essentially relegated to being a staff nurse that you should be paid hourly and overtime for all hours over 40 per workweek while you are doing this and returned to exempt when your duties return to management as that would be internally consistent with the way your employer treats nurses. If he doesn't buy that, then I believe you should ask for a raise or bonus to reflect their expectations.
What is clearly illegal is not giving you a lunch break at all. That's illegal under KY law meal breaks are mandatory for all in the medical field.
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