By:  Claudia D. Orr

Tic Toc!  The December 1, 2016 effective date will be here before you know it and there is plenty to do to prepare for the changes under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

As you know, the new regulations have increased the minimum threshold of compensation for exempt employees from $23,660 annually and $455 weekly to $47,476 annually and $913 weekly.

While the “duties” tests for the white collar exemptions have not changed, in my experience most employers have a few employees who have been misclassified because the work being performed has changed over time, or the employee was misclassified to begin with. 

The change in the regulations provides employers with the opportunity to correct the misclassifications without necessarily tipping off their employees that they should have been receiving overtime pay for years.

So, what should you be doing? 

  • Make sure that all of your position descriptions are current and accurate; and
  • Evaluate each classification and determine if it should be exempt or non-exempt.

To assist you, I posted a chart on July 15, 2016 on the Detroit SHRM website (under news/legal updates) that provides the full test for each exemption.  Remember, the default classification is non-exempt.  The employer bears the burden of proving the employee was correctly classified as exempt.

If you need further assistance in understanding the new regulations or reviewing classifications, call an experienced employment attorney such as the author or click on: and view a webinar on this important topic.

This article was written by Claudia D. Orr, who is Chair of the Legal Affairs Committee of Detroit SHRM, and an experienced labor/employment attorney at the Detroit office of Plunkett Cooney (a full service law firm and resource partner of Detroit SHRM).  She can be reached at or at (313) 983-4863. For more information go to:

Detroit SHRM encourages members to share these articles with others, inside and outside their organization, as long as its name and logo, and the author’s information, is included in the re-post of the article. October 2016.