The Muller case established the principles of equal and fair pay in the courts, including minimum wages in Oregon. There are a number of exceptions to the minimum wage laws in Oregon. The first is known as the executive exemption. Under these rules, those who are in executive positions do not fall within the listed occupations for the minimum wage laws. The main reason for this is that it is assumed that executives get paid a much higher wage than all other workers so they do not need to be protected under Oregon minimum wage laws.
There are certain requirements before the executive exemption can apply under Statute 653.020(3) and Administrative Rule number 839-020-0005(1):
- The normal duties of the person must include some level of management
- The same exemptions if they independently run a branch of the company
- They can also be exempted if they own at least 21% of the shares of that company where they work
- They must be responsible for directing the work of at least two employees
- Should be able to hire and fire employees directly or indirectly
- They must be paid on a salary scale
Rules for Administrative Exemptions to the Minimum Wage in Oregon
Those who work in administrative executive positions are not required to be put under the minimum wage rules. For this to happen, there are certain conditions that must be fulfilled and verified according to the employment contracts:
- The employer must be doing work that is not manual
- The work must be related to the management of company policy and or operations
- The same rules to those that work as administrators in places of teaching or learning
- They may be required to show that they meet the qualifications of an executive role or supporting an executive
Other Exempted People in the Workplace
If you are a professional, then the rules do not apply in the same way as wage and hour workers. The qualifications for this include those that work in a specialized field of science and learning. The person must go through a period of long intellectual training and education in order to qualify as a professional. This is not the same as just going through academic education. For example, a social worker has an academic qualification but also workplace training.
It is also expected that the professional will be producing work of original value rather than routine tasks that are associated with doing manual work. Tutors and lecturers will meet this exemption. However, they must be paid a salary rather than on an hourly basis. That requirement may cause problems when lecturers are paid a combination of a salary and monthly rate for their activities.
Rules for Sales People
Because salespeople are normally paid through commission, they are exempt from minimum wage requirements. A number of whistleblower claims have arisen due to this particular issue. The exemption applies to those who make sales outside the organization and are paid by commission.
It cannot apply to the front line staff who are always required to be at the place of their work on a regular basis. The reasoning behind this is that being away from work gives external sales people opportunities to control their time and earn even more money privately.
Similar exemptions apply to computer experts, programmers, and operators. However, that qualification is only met if they are paid at least $27.63 per hour, which means that even the high minimum wage would not apply in any case.
What to do if You Think You are Exempt
Contact HKM Employment Attorneys for a case consultation. We can help with Oregon minimum wage protections and other employment needs.