Employment Law Questions? Ask an Employment Lawyer.
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The question you ask can be business specific and can be quite complicated, as you likely already now. Motor transport companies that carry people or property may exempt a mechanic from overtime pay if his job impacts the safe operation of the transport vehicles. In order for this exemption to apply, however, the people or property transported must be moved across state lines or to another country. This exemption may not apply to mechanics who work on vehicles that weigh less than 10,000 pounds. Mechanics employed by car dealerships are also exempt. Businesses in the amusement and recreation industries may also be able to exempt mechanics and other employees from overtime pay if the establishment operates no more than seven months during the year and doesn't exceed certain income requirements.
Here is a link to the US Department of Labor site on this issue as well: http://webapps.dol.gov/elaws/whd/flsa/screen75.asp
In most cases, a tire and auto shop mechanic is not going to be exempt from overtime requirements. In an abundance of caution, I typically have clients contact the US Dept. of Labor and get a business specific opinion in writing. That gives you some "tail" coverage in the event you elect not to pay overtime.
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Best wishes going forward!