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New Law Would Limit OT Pay for High-Tech Workers

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By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on February 13, 2012 5:02 AM

A new bill seeks to limit OT pay for certain high-tech workers. It's a move that has generated buzz amongst corporations -- and employees. It's also legislation that in house counsel should take note of, especially if they work in the tech field.

It could mean your employment contracts and labor costs will soon be significantly different.

The bill was introduced last fall by Senator Kay Hagan of North Carolina. It aims to expand the language of current labor law statutes. If passed, certain tech workers will no longer be entitled to overtime. Titled the "Computer Professionals Update Act," the bill would include those who secure, configure, integrate, or debug computer systems.

The bill is supported by some high-tech companies including IBM and Intel. The companies maintain that the legislation is vital. They believe that it will help Americans remain competitive in the overseas job market.

If passed the bill could impact thousands of companies and their employees.

It does come at a time when class action lawsuits filed against corporations aren't exactly rare. Last year, Oracle settled an overtime lawsuit for $35 million. In 2006, IBM paid out $65 million in another overtime suit, according to The Charlotte Observer.

It's an issue that many in house counsel struggle with. The language in the statutes isn't exactly clear.

And at the same time, improperly classifying an employee as exempt or nonexempt can net you an expensive litigation. That's why most attorneys strive to avoid these lawsuits at all costs. Yet it isn't easy.

Opponents to the bill say that it would be bad for IT employees. The bill would essentially eliminate OT pay for some high-tech workers, meaning they may be required to work more for less. What do you think about the situation?

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