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Can nurse or case managers be denied overtime?

Sometimes. This is a tricky question and has been the subject of much litigation. Generally, the professional exemption to the FLSA applies to RNs but not LPNs because the higher position of RN requires more education and satisfies the professional exemption definition.

This does not end the inquiry, however, since a job must require “knowledge of an advanced type in a field of science or learning customarily acquired by a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction.” The question is whether or not a “case manager” requires this same learning.

In Cook v. Carestar, Inc., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131956, a case from Ohio, the court refused to dismiss the case holding that “Case managers are not, however, working as nurses … in the traditional sense.” The question became whether nursing training was “functionally required to perform a case manager’s primary duties…”

Because the plaintiff’s produced evidence that the job could have been done without the RN training and instead performed based solely on case manager training received from the employer, the judge allowed the case to go to trial. (according to the docket, the case settled before trial!)

If you are a nurse / case manager, you are not automatically exempt from overtime just because you are an RN. You are entitled to overtime unless your job functionally requires the advanced knowledge that you gained from becoming an RN.

Contact The Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore if you think you are owed overtime wages.