In a recent ruling against Crozer Chester Medical Center, U.S. District Judge Eduardo C. Robreno found that physician’s assistants (PAs) are entitled to receiving overtime pay under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act or FLSA. The Judge disagreed with the defendant’s argument that PAs are exempt from the FLSA overtime regulations under the professional employee exemption.
The defendant argued that PAs fall under the realm of the exemption because they practice traditional medicine, citing the Department of Labor’s definition of “traditional professions of law, medicine, and teaching,” which excludes pharmacists, nurses, therapists, technologists, sanitarians, dieticians, social workers, psychologists, psychometrists, and/or other positions that service the medical profession. However, there is no specific mention of PAs in the DOL regulatory exemptions, Further, Robreno found the professional exemption inapplicable because the Department of Labor has consistently taken the position that the overtime exemption does not extend past actual physicians. Therefore, in finding in favor of the PA, the Judge ruled that Plaintiff Charles Cuttic was entitled to 1.5 times his hourly rate of $50 for every overtime hour that he worked in the 3 years preceeding his lawsuit.
This case illustrates the importance of challenging an employer’s overtime policies. There are many instances where an employer’s interpretation of how to apply a certain overtime exemption is not necessarily consistent with the law. If you’d like for an attorney to evaluate your FLSA exemption status, please contact Pogust Braslow & Millrood for a free consultation.