Western District of Pennsylvania Declines to Extend PMWA Administrative Exemption to IT Worker

In Smith v. The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21996 (W.D. Pa. Jan. 20, 2011), the Western District of Pennsylvania denied an employer’s motion for summary judgment that an information technology worker was an exempt administrative employee under the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act (“PMWA”). Plaintiff Herman Smith worked as an “FXR Specialist” which performed formal file transfers between internal BNY Mellon business units and other external entities. In this position, Mr. Smith earned a salary of over $70,000 a year but alleged that he did not receive overtime compensation for the 50 plus hours he worked each week. Unlike the FLSA, the PMWA does not have an exemption for computer employees, so the employer attempted to escape liability by arguing that Mr. Smith was a bona fide administrative employee.

The Court ruled in favor of Mr. Smith due to the existence of genuine issues of material facts surrounding Plaintiff’s primary duties as an FXR Specialist as well as the discretion and independent judgment he was able to utilize in that position. The Court relied heavily upon federal regulations and cases interpreting the administrative exemption under the FLSA in reaching its conclusion.

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