In 2012, service advisers working at a California Mercedes-Benz dealership sued their employer for being wrongly classified as being exempt from overtime pay. The employees’ case was dismissed in 2013 by the district court. Following an appeal by the employees, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the district court’s ruling.
The 9th Circuit’s reversal was based on the fact that previous U.S. Department of Labor guidance indicated that service advisers were not included in the same exemption that applies to mechanics and salespeople. This ruling was appealed by the dealership, which led to the case being elevated to the Supreme Court.
Many anticipated that the U.S. Supreme Court would make a ruling, which would eliminate the issue caused by the fact that the 9th Circuit’s ruling conflicted with rulings by the 4th and 5th circuits. However, the Supreme Court vacated the decision and sent it back to the 9th Circuit with instructions to disregard the DOL regulation that the court had used to base its ruling on. The 9th Circuit came to the same conclusion, ruling in favor of the employees, but this time it did so on the basis of a 1966 vote by Congress to repeal the blanket exemption for dealership employees.
There are laws designed to ensure that employees have safe workplaces and are compensated appropriately for their work time. These protections can relate to how many hours a day someone works. If someone believes that they are owed overtime pay by an employer, a lawyer may be able to look into the situation.