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Glossary

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administrative exemption

Any employee:

  1. whose duties and responsibilities involve either:
    1. the performance of office or non-manual work directly related to management policies or general business operations of his or her employer or his or her employer's customers or
    2. the performance of functions in the administration of a school system, or educational establishment or institution, or of a department or subdivision thereof, in work directly related to the academic instruction or training carried on therein; and
  2. who customarily and regularly exercises discretion and independent judgment; and
  3. who regularly and directly assists a proprietor, or an employee employed in a bona fide executive or administrative capacity or
  4. who performs, under only general supervision, work along specialized or technical lines requiring special training, experience or knowledge, or
  5. who executes under general supervision special assignments and tasks and
  6. who is primarily engaged in duties that meet the test for the exemption.
  7. an administrative employee must also earn a monthly salary equivalent to no less than two times the state minimum wage for full-time employment. Full-time employment means 40 hours per week as defined in California Labor Code section 515(c).

The following three types of administrative employees qualify for exemption if they meet the criteria set for the above:

  1. Employees who regularly and directly assist a proprietor or exempt executive or administrator. Included in this category are those executive assistants and administrative assistants to whom executives or high-level administrators have delegated part of their discretionary powers. Generally, such assistants are found in large establishments in which the official assisted has duties of such scope and which require so much attention that the work of personal scrutiny, correspondence and interviews must be delegated.
  2. Employees who perform under general supervision work along specialized or technical lines requiring special training, experience or knowledge. Such employees are often described as staff employees or functional, rather than department heads. They include employees who act as advisory specialists to management, or to the employer's customers. Typical examples are tax experts, insurance experts, sales research experts, wage rate analysts, foreign exchange consultants and statisticians. Such experts may or may not be exempt, depending on the extent to which they exercise discretionary powers. Also included in this category are persons in charge of a functional department, which may even be a one-person department, such as credit managers, purchasing agents, buyers, personnel directors, safety directors and labor relations directors.
  3. Employees who perform special assignments under general supervision. Often, such employees perform their work away from the employer's place of business. Typical titles of such persons are buyers, field representatives, and location managers for motion picture companies. This category also includes employees whose special assignments are performed entirely or mostly on the employer's premises, such as customers' brokers in stock exchange firms and so-called account executives in advertising firms.

Regarding the requirement for the exemption to apply that the employee "customarily and regularly exercises discretion and independent judgment," means the employee engages in the comparison and evaluation of possible courses of conduct and acting before making a decision. the employee must have the authority or power to make an independent choice, free from immediate direction or supervision about matters of significance. This phrase has been most frequently misunderstood and misapplied by employers and employees alike in cases involving the following:

  1. Confusion between the exercise of discretion and independent judgment, and the use of skill in applying techniques, procedures or specific standards.
  2. Misapplication of the phrase to employees making decisions about matters of little consequence.

As with any of the exemptions, job titles reflecting administrative classifications alone may not reflect actual job duties and consequently, are of no assistance in determining exempt or nonexempt status. The fact that an employee may have one of the job titles listed above is, in and of itself, of no consequence. the actual determination of exempt or nonexempt status must be based on the nature of the actual work performed by the individual employee.





adverse action
An act or action taken by an employer against an employee that works to the employee's detriment in some aspect of his or her employment, including a poor evaluation, surveillance, an unfavorable recommendation for a promotion, less desirable duties, a transfer, demotion, a cut in pay, or a discharge.



agreed medical examiner (AME)
A physician selected by your attorney and the claims administrator who conducts a medical evaluation and submits a comprehensive report to the parties.



alternate work
A different job with your employer when you have work restrictions, which prevent you from permanently returning to your usual and customary job.



alternative workweek schedule
Any regularly scheduled workweek requiring an employee to work more than eight hours in a 24-hour period.



AOE/COE (arising out of and occurring in the course of employment)
This means that an industrial injury must be caused by and happen on the job.



appeal abatement dates
Following receipt of a citation and penalty, the employer may appeal to the Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board within 15 working days. An employer may appeal the existence or the classification of the violation alleged in a citation, the reasonableness of the abatement date, the reasonableness of the changes required by Cal/OSHA and the amount of any proposed civil penalty. Just the same, if an employee or employee representative thinks the date by which the alleged violation must be corrected (abatement date) is unreasonable, they can appeal the abatement date.



appeal proceedings
Following receipt of a citation and penalty the employer may appeal to the Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board within 15 working days. An employer must notify employees of an appeal and of the employees' right to participate in the appeal. The participation notice and a copy of the docketed appeal form must be posted at or near the site of the alleged violation or other conspicuous place where it will be readily observed and easily read by employees. Following posting, an employer must file with Cal/OSHA proof of certification of posting of the participation notice and docketed appeal. The employer must serve these documents on any employee who suffered a serious injury and on the representative of union employees or on the representative of any employee who was killed.



applicant
The party, usually the injured worker, who establishes a case before the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB).



application for adjudication of claim (application or app)
Filing this form establishes a case before the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB). A WCAB case number will be assigned.



apportionment
A way of figuring out how much of your permanent disability is due to your industrial injury and how much is due to other disabilities.



audit unit
A unit within the state division of workers' compensation that receives complaints against claims administrators. These complaints may lead to an investigation or audit of the company's claims handling practices.



awarding body
Any state or local government agency, department, board, commission, bureau, district, office, authority, political subdivision, regional district officer, employee or agent awarding or letting a contract or purchase order for public works.