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Court rules in favor of car dealership employees

Overtime protections are offered to many employees in California but some employees are exempt from these protections. A debate over customer service workers at car dealerships in the state has been resolved after the Ninth Circuit court ruled that these employees are not exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act overtime protections. 

The unanimous ruling will allow a lawsuit by four "service advisers" at a car dealership to continue seeking unpaid overtime. The court ruled that customer service employees at the dealership are protected by the FLSA, overturning a previous ruling that said these employees were exempt from overtime protection rules. 

The lawsuit stems from four customer service workers at the car dealership not receiving overtime pay. The employees were paid on commission for greeting car owners, evaluating their needs and getting owners to get in-house repairs. The plaintiffs' filed a lawsuit seeking backpay for unpaid overtime. 

Employees in the automobile industry may be exempt from certain wage and hour regulations like overtime pay if they primarily sell or serve automobiles. The court ruled that since these employees' did not primarily sell or serve automobiles, they were not exempt from receiving overtime pay. 

The debate over paying these employees overtime wages may continue as other circuit courts in the country have ruled that these workers are exempt from overtime wages. The split decisions could lead to the Supreme Court making the final ruling on this issue, which could impact workers in the automobile industry in California. 

Source: FindLaw, "Dealership Workers get Overtime, 9th Rules in Circuit Split," Casey C. Sullivan, March 27, 2015

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