Jottings By An Employer's Lawyer

Saturday, October 25, 2003

5th Cir. View On White Collar Exemption Issue of Discretion and Independent Judgment


Earlier this month in an unpublished opinion* the court held that Event Coordinators who work for the Dallas Convention Center exercise sufficient "discretion and independent judgment" to qualify under the administrative exemption. Bondy v. City of Dallas (5th Cir. 10/9/03) [pdf]. If we are not going to get a revision to the regulations, it is at least good to see common sense decisions coming from the courts under the existing ones.

On the issue of the wage and hour revisions, the President has renewed his threat to veto the appropriations bill if it contains the Harkin amendment and the business community which has mobilized support for a change in the regulations is making another advertising push in hopes of keeping the regs on track. Lost in the whole argument is that the DOL had not yet finalized the regs, it had just made proposals and received the comments. It really does seem bizarre that Congress is acting before they are even final. But then what about Congress these days doesn't seem bizarre?

*When I do my regular review of circuit court decisions for the blog, I generally check only the published decisions, not because there are not interesting and perhaps even important employment cases that are designated unpublished, but because they have no or certainly less precedential value and it just takes too much time. On one day last week the 5th Circuit released 153 unpublished opinions. That was an exception, but you get the point on how much time could be consumed. But that means I sometimes miss or if not miss totally, am late in reporting on decisions that at a minimum offer an interesting insight into how a court is handling a particular issue.


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