Nationwide wins decision holding that its investigators are not entitled to overtime
Natonwide Insurance employes a Special Investigation Unit aimed at reducing "non-meritorious claims" by investigating cases with "indicators of fraud." Frank Foster was employed as a Special Invesigator and sued Nationwide arguing that he should have been paid overtime for his extra hours when assigned to specia investigations. He earned $75,000.00 per year spending the "overwhelming majority" of his time investigating suspicious claims, although because of contradictory state laws, SIs were not allowed to actually adjust claims.
The Fair Labor Standards Act requires overtime pay after 40 hours, except for "bona fide executive, administrative or professional" employees. Nationwide claims that the SIs are properly treated as "professionals" under the Bush-era amendments to the FLSA regulations because their work is "directly related to the management or general business operations of the employer...whose primary duty includes the exercise of discretion and independent judgment." The trial judge ruled that the SIs were in fact exempt from overtime, and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld this decision.