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An employee’s work may not be simultaneously “exempt” and “nonexempt”

Heyen v. Safeway Inc. (2013) 216 Cal.App.4th 795, 157 Cal.Rptr.3d 280

Plaintiff/Respondent Linda Heyen, was an assistant manager for defendant’s store. After Defendant terminated Heyen, she claimed unpaid overtime pay, contending misclassification as an exempt employee even though most of the primary duties involved non-exempt duties such bagging groceries and stocking shelves.  Plaintiff contended that she regularly spent more than 50 percent of her work hours doing these nonexempt tasks.

The Court of Appeal upholding the trial court’s decision of Plaintiff being misclassified an exempt employee, stated that “In determining whether an employee is within the “executive exemption” from overtime pay, the trier of fact must categorize tasks as either “exempt” or “nonexempt” based on the objective purpose for which the employee undertook them; there is no hybrid category in which the employee is deemed simultaneously to be doing both exempt and nonexempt tasks.” (Heyen v. Safeway Inc. (2013) 216 Cal.App.4th 795, 157 Cal.Rptr.3d 280)