The Berkshire County Superior Court recently held that a stable manager, who claimed to be owed overtime from his employer, fell within the scope of the executive exemption to G.L. c. 151, §1A. In Graceffa v. Waller, et. al., C.A. No. 15-00145 (Feb. 6, 2017), the plaintiff claimed that he was a domestic worker and that the administrative and executive exemptions do not apply to him. Regardless of whether G.L.c. 149, §190 applies retroactively, the court noted that the plaintiff cited “no case law to support his proposition that employment as a stable hand or stable manager qualifies him as a domestic worker.”
The court held that the executive exemption applies to the plaintiff, despite the fact that he performed some nonexempt work, “such as cleaning stalls and grooming the horses.” His “primary duties were managerial in nature.” The plaintiff’s primary duties included the following:
- “trained and supervised the stable hands”;
- “established schedules and rules”;
- “handled stable employee complaints”;
- “aggregated and reported to the defendants the hours the other stable employees worked”; and
- “made decisions on the needs of the stable.”
Further, “he was not supervised by any other stable employee” and “the defendants typically adhered to the plaintiff’s recommendations as to hiring, firing and wage increases for stable employees.” Although there “may have been one occasion on which the plaintiff’s recommendations were not followed… [it] is not necessary for the exempt employee to play a role in every single hire, fire or promotion.” As such, the court held that the plaintiff was an exempt executive employee.
The court further held that “even if the plaintiff was not an exempt executive employee, he was nevertheless an exempt administrative employee.” The plaintiff “trained and supervised stable employees, scheduled work and assignments for stable employees, heard and addressed stable employee complaints, collected stable employee work hours, and assisted in hiring and firing stable employees. All of these responsibilities are directly related to the management of the stable as well as assisting in the operation of the stable.”
The court held that the plaintiff who worked for the defendants as a stable manager was exempt from overtime because his job duties came within the scope of both the executive exemption and the administrative exemption.