Thank you for the information and your question. It is not entirely true that an employee can only be categorized as an exempt employee (salaried) employee on in those circumstances, but those are over generalizations of the rules. The rules themselves are extremely complex and very fact specific. As a paralegal you could potentially be considered exempt under some circumstances, however, an employer is never required to make any employee exempt, even managers. In other words, the law only prohibits certain employees from being categorized as exempt, it does not mandate certain employees be identified as exempt. The reason for the distinction is that the law of wages is actually more favorable for non-exempt (hourly) employees. I requires that non-exempt employees be paid for every minute/hour they work and they are entitled to overtime pay for hours worked in excess of 40. On the other hand, exempt employees are paid the same whether they work 30 hours a week or 80 hours a week. So, from a legal perspective, non-exempt employees have more rights and that is why the law only restricts who can be made an exempt employee and does not limit an employer from making all employees non-exempt if they choose.
All that said, if you want to see the very detailed and fact specific discussion of what the DOL uses to decide if someone is lawfully made an exempt employee you can find it at the following link. A paralegal would fit under the administrative, etc., category. But again, no requirement that an employer make them exempt and many paralegals wouldn't qualify as exempt based on their pay, specific duties, and level of discretion, which are all key factors of the exemption. There are pass through links that take you to more detailed pages. http://webapps.dol.gov/elaws/whd/flsa/overtime/info.htm
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