Should John Seek Overtime Pay or Insist on Maintaining His Current Arrangement?BronsCon writes "A friend of mine recently came to me for advice regarding how to handle a situation with his employer. I advised him to contact an attorney, because any advice I could provide would likely be poor. But, his situation has made me curious; so I'd like to describe it here and pose the same question to the Slashdot community.
My friend, we'll call him John, has been working for a California-based company for several years in a position covered by IWC Article 4 (PDF warning, sorry) under the assumption that he was exempt from sections 3-12 (which includes the section relating to overtime pay); he recently decided to read over the law, as well as the exemption that could possibly apply to him, the Professional Exemption and the Employee in the Computer Software Field exemption, and discovered that given the current terms of his employment, he is in fact not exempt from any provision of Article 4. He also believes that his employer sincerely mistook his position as exempt and does not wish to punish them for what he believes to be an honest mistake.
For the duration of his employ, John has more or less been allowed to come and go as he pleases and has received frequent commendation for the level of work he puts out, so it would appear that his loose schedule has been beneficial for all involved, up to now. What prompted him to review the IWC documents was a sudden insistence from his boss that he was not working reasonable hours because "every other salaried position requires 50-60hr workweeks".
Here's the rub; he does not want to pursue the unpaid overtime, because this would bankrupt the company and put him out of a job, and he is worried that suing his employer may well make him unemployable. He simply either wants things to continue on as they have been, foregoing overtime pay in exchange for a high degree of freedom in his working schedule (which typically equates to coming in between 8:00 and 8:20 rather than at 8:00 sharp, taking 20-30min breaks rather than 10min, taking an occasional long lunch, and typically staying 30-90min later than most of his coworkers to make up for all of it, as well as working weekends to get things done that didn't get done during the week), or adjusting the working relationship into full compliance with IWC Article 4.
John's development work is largely done solo, he is always present for meetings, which are not held regularly, and his work is frequently completed ahead of schedule and under budget. There are no team members twiddling their thumbs while John is out getting coffee or walking off a heavy lunch before returning to the office.
I'm curious to see how Slashdot's advice will align with John's lawyer's advice, as well as what John will actually do in his situation. So, Slashdot, what would you do?"