HR Strange But True!
September 03, 2004

If anyone should be upset by the Bush administration's new rules on overtime-exemption, it's the worker who loses his or her entitlement to overtime pay, right?

Yet the Associated Press reports that employers are finding resentment among another group of workers: those who've been given entitlement to OT. It's not that these workers don't like the prospect of additional pay, according to the AP. It's that they saw status in being salaried employees. Being reclassified as hourly workers is something of a demotion, in their eyes.

One of those workers is Mary Porter, an administrative associate at the University of Missouri. "It just feels like, in a sense, I've had something taken away from me," she said. "I had that status because I worked my way up. ... It made me feel personally like I had accomplished something."

Jonathan Sulds, an attorney with corporate law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in New York, said the complaints are coming as a surprise to at least some employers. "Not every company saw this coming, and I certainly don't think the regulators had a sense that this was going to happen," he said.

At Missouri, for instance, administrators decided that none of the university's 19,000 employees would lose eligibility for overtime pay under the new rules. But if they thought that meant clear sailing, they were wrong. For at the same time, they reclassified between 400 and 500 employees from salaried to hourly. That generated complaints, which in turn led to a series of meetings that drew not only the upset workers but also professors who supported them.

Source: Associated Press article, via the Houston Chronicle

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