Using independent judgment at work doesn’t pay extra. Two recent opinions offer guidance on which employees are exempt from overtime pay under the administrative exception to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

FLSA provides an exemption from minimum wage and overtime provisions for an employee working in an “executive, administrative, or professional capacity.” FLSA § 13(a)(1). An employee qualifies for the administrative exception by performing office or non-manual work directly related to the management or general business operations of the employer. 29 C.F.R. §§ 541.200(a)(2)-(3).

The Department of Labor recently held that financial services employees whose primary duties are analyzing financial information and advising clients about financial investments qualify as administrative employees. Dep’t of Labor Opinion Letter, Nov. 27, 2006. Because their primary duty is not sales of investments to clients, these employees are exempt from FLSA.

Similarly, a federal court recently found that supervisors of casino games tables are also administrative employees. Allen v. Harrah’s Enter. (N.D. Ind. Dec. 4, 2006). Because these supervisors “routinely exercised discretion” in casino operations and used independent judgment in offering “comps” to casino customers, they too are exempt from FLSA.