Most employers are familiar with the standard FLSA exemptions for administrative, professional, or executive employees, but there are a number of lesser-known FLSA exemptions that are, frankly, weird. Here is a list of my top five oddball FLSA exemptions:

  1. Any employee engaged in the processing of maple sap into sugar (other than refined sugar) or syrup;
  2. Any employee employed in the catching, taking, propagating, harvesting, cultivating, or farming of any kind of fish, shellfish, crustacea, sponges, seaweeds, or other aquatic forms of animal and vegetable life, or in the first processing, canning or packing such marine products at sea as an incident to, or in conjunction with, such fishing operations, including the going to and returning from work and loading and unloading when performed by any such employee;
  3. Any switchboard operator employed by an independently owned public telephone company which has not more than seven hundred and fifty stations;
  4. Any individual employed as an outside buyer of poultry, eggs, cream, or milk, in their raw or natural state; and
  5. Any employee employed by an establishment which is a motion picture theater.

See 29 U.S.C. § 213(a–b).

Takeaway: If you have employee engaged in the processing of maple sap into sugar, make sure it’s not refined sugar – otherwise, you’ll need to pay overtime.