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California Supreme Court Clarifies the Administrative ExemptionAn Analysis of Harris v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County

December 30, 2011

By M. KIRBY C. WILCOX & JEFFREY P. MICHALOWSKI

The California Supreme Court has issued its long-awaited opinion in Harris v. Superior Court, the first case in which it has addressed the administrative exemption under California law. Reversing the court below, the Supreme Court held that the administration/production worked dichotomy is ill-suited for the modern workplace, and cannot be used as a dispositive tool for finding employees non-exempt. Instead, courts are to consider the particular facts before them and apply the language of the statutes and wage orders at issue. Employers should consider whether the new guidelines announced in Harris expand or contract the set of employees eligible for the administrative exemption.