Of course, not everyone is entitled to receive OT. While every case is different, and we must evaluate each case on an individual basis, we've come up with these basic rules of thumb to start our evaluation based on the Computer Professionals Exemption. IT workers typically fall in one of these two categories:
A. You spend more than 50% of your time at work:
- Performing repetitive tasks, such as troubleshooting, updating, and maintaining computer systems and networks
- Following set rules and procedures
- Working under close supervision
- Troubleshooting, analyzing, and correcting complicated problems with business software, networks, and hardware.
- Configuring, installing and/or testing new computers, software applications, networks or hardware based on requirements defined by the user.
- Setting up or troubleshooting network accounts (login IDs) and other applications for business user accounts.
B. If you spend the majority of your time:
- Addressing new types of problems every day (i.e. not repetitive and can't be solved by merely following a set protocol or guidelines)
- Performing tasks that require creativity and independent decision-making, such as selecting or creating advanced system design, coding, and computer programming
- Working independently or even supervising the work of other employees
Category "A" contains criteria that are positive for getting overtime pay. Category "B" has factors that decrease your likelihood of getting overtime pay. Even if you believe you fall under category "B," we may see it differently based on follow up questions.
Obviously, the list covers diverse jobs from help-desk personnel to network engineers. Moreover, even if you are an upper level network engineer and hold an advanced certification such as the CCIE, you might still be entitled to overtime pay if you work on tasks listed above.
Take note that the United States Department of Labor just recently published an opinion letter (which is the official position of the department) that clearly labels these IT jobs and duties as non-exempt. This means you are eligible for overtime pay. You can read this letter here. If your job duties resemble what the DOL described in the opinion letter, you should contact us right away to get your overtime paid.
Remember you are also entitled to overtime if you supervise other people. Being a "team leader" or "manager" does not mean you lose your right to overtime pay. Unless you spend more than fifty percent (50%) of your time supervising other employees, and not performing regular IT work, then you should be paid overtime. In addition, your employer must prove you satisfy all the other requirements of the Executive Exemption (ability to hire/fire, supervise a department, etc). It's rare for an IT or computer worker to meet all of these requirements.
Don't go it alone
As you can see, overtime law regarding the Computer Professionals Exemption can be quite complex and difficult to apply. Therefore, I recommend against attempting to pursue any potential claim for overtime or to confront your employer yourself. We are experienced in these matters and know the tricks your employer and their team of lawyers use to reduce or deny your claim.