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Are pharmacists exempt or non-exempt workers?

DQ 5 Pharmacists

Pharmacists were paid a salary based on an expected number of hours of work. Their hours and salaries were reduced based on lower sales during slow times of the year. The pharmacists claim that this practice makes them nonexempt, and they sue for unpaid overtime work. Discuss whether the pharmacists are exempt or nonexempt workers.

Determining whether a salaried employee is exempt or nonexempt is done by conducting duties and salary tests. The duties test helps determine the type of responsibilities or duties an employee is expected to perform while the salary test helps determine how the employee is paid. The two tests need to be conducted on pharmacists to clarify their duties and responsibilities and how they are paid (Walsh, 2016). There is also a need to check and review the contract signed during the employment to determine if they were to be paid based on the sales they make or on the hours they work. with such a clear understanding of the contract, the test should be conducted and a decision of whether the employee is exempt or nonexempt will be determined.

Under the US Department of Labor, the “salary basis” of payment means an employee receives a predetermined amount of compensation, weekly, monthly or a less frequent period agreed on. The amount cannot be decreased based on the quantity or quality of the work the employee does. If the employee is exempt, they will receive the full salary without limitation to the hours or days they worked (US Department of Labor, 2020).

According to the Fair Labor Standard Act, employee exemption applies to certain professionals like law, some computer professionals, teachers, medical professionals, and administrators. However, fields like pharmacy may or may not be exempt. Some are working under employee exemption which makes them not entitled to overtime while some are expected to get overtime for the time they work more than 40 hours a week. There should be a consultation with the employees to determine whether the pharmacists have been registered as exempt or non-exempt. For those not registered as exempt, they fall under non-exempt members hence they could receive their overtime pay.


US Department of Labor. (2019, September). Fact Sheet #17D: Exemption for Professional Employees Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) [PDF]. to an external site.

Walsh, D. J. (2016). Employment Law for Human Resource Practice (5th ed.). Cengage Learning.

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