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Over the past few years, a series of decisions have been made by the court regarding the issue of employee exemption, thus affecting the interpretation of an exemption to a considerable degree. The case of Dejesus v. HF Management Services, LLC is, perhaps, one of the most well-known instances of revisiting the issue of employee exemption. According to the case details, Ramona Dejesus was an employee at HF Management Services, LLC, or Healthfirst. Being a full-time staff member at the organization, Dejesus was also promised a commission for each patient that was recruited successfully for participating in the Healthfirst program and using the company’s services. Particularly, the plaintiff claimed that the organization obliged to provide extra payment for the specified services based on the provisions of FLSA and the New York Labor Law (NYLL). Moreover, Dejesus stated that, while providing payment for her overtime work, the firm did not include commissions-related payments. The court, however, concluded that the plaintiff was neither eligible for overtime payment nor that the hospital failed to pay for her overtime work (Dejesus v. HF Management Services, LLC, 2013).
Considering the outcomes of the case for the people employed in the healthcare sector, one must admit that protecting their rights may have been made somewhat more difficult than it used to be. For instance, the case implies that the degree of specificity for making the statement regarding an organization’s failure to meet the contractual obligations plausible should increase. The identified outcome is likely to compel the court to make significant approximations concerning the number of hours that a person employed in a healthcare or nursing organization should work overtime so that the NYLL provisions could be used as a case argument. Furthermore, the necessity to increase the specificity of one’s statements suggests that the role of the court in retrieving essential pieces of evidence should rise. As a result, significant obstacles to receiving unbiased evidence are likely to emerge.
It should be noted, though, that the court decision has become the tool for protecting large healthcare companies from vexatious litigations on the side of their employees. Particularly, the outcomes of the court session compel plaintiffs to provide substantive evidence that supports their claim instead of simply stating their case without any support for their claims. Consequently, the identified court ruling is bound to serve as a shield against unethical charges against companies such as Healthfirst.
It seems that the case was handled quite reasonably. Indeed, a closer look at the statements made by Dejesus will show that they had little to no support and mostly relied on the plaintiff’s claims. One might argue that the court ruling may lead to massive infringements of employees’ rights in the healthcare and nursing sectors. Managing the needs of nursing staff members becomes a possibility with the application of the strategies that allow predicting satisfaction levels among exempt staff members. For example, including time intervals between the instances of increases in the staff’s salary as the method of rewarding high-quality performance is deemed as important (Dreher, 1981).
However, the existing tests designed to determine whether an employee is eligible for an exemption can be deemed valid. For instance, the framework that Ko and Kleiner (2005) propose as the tool for determining the feasibility of an exemption should be credited as efficient and, therefore, worth including in the set of instruments for managing employee exemption.
Dejesus v. HF Management Services, LLC, 726 F.3d 85. (2013)
Dreher, G. F. (1981). Predicting the salary satisfaction of exempt employees. Personnel Psychology, 34(), 579-589.
Ko, H Y., & Kleiner, B. H. (2005). Analyzing jobs to determine exempt or non-exempt status. Equal Opportunities International, 24(5/6), 93-100.