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Employment Law

Employee Compensation

LegalSpeak: Bertrand v. Children’s Home (D. Md. 2007)

Defendants in FLSA cases have the burden to “prove by clear and convincing evidence that an employee qualifies for exemption.” In making this showing, “[t]he employer has the burden of establishing by affirmative evidence all the necessary requirements of the exemption….

Here, although particular items of evidence in the record concerning Bertrand’s duties support one or the other of the parties’ arguments, a reasonable jury could easily conclude that Bertrand’s work was essentially and predominantly clerical in nature, and not administrative or managerial. Indeed, Bertrand’s former boss described her duties, in part, as “providing secretarial support across various departments” including scheduling and dealing with vendors. Likewise, plaintiff described at length in her deposition her secretarial duties, which included ordering supplies, taking minutes at company meetings, completing forms, and, under supervision, distributing petty cash….

In sum, although the services plaintiff provided to TCH were valuable and important to its operations, defendant’s showing here does not establish as a matter of law, bearing in mind the burden of proof here of clear and convincing evidence, that plaintiff’s duties “directly related to the management or general business operations of the employer.”



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