Are Car Dealership Service Advisors Entitled to Overtime?

The Supreme Court is currently reviewing whether to accept a case out of California that found that service advisors or parts advisors are not exempt from the FLSA and are therefore entitled to overtime for hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek.

This decision  Navarro et al. v. Encino Motorcars, LLC – was in stark contrast with two other decisions that found that parts advisors are Exempt and not entitled to overtime. The underlying issue in all these cases is whether service advisors fall under an overtime exemption that applies to “salesman, partsman, or mechanic[s]” in dealerships. Services advisors have always been an issue because they traditionally are not involved with sales and but provide help to the customers in the repair shop. As part of their job they often evaluate the service needs of a client, make recommendations, stock parts and get parts for the mechanics. Complicating matters is service advisors are often paid a commission for their sales (which may allow for other exemptions to come into play).

The Ninth Circuit’s decision in Navarro read the exemption narrowly and concluded that a salesman could be read to apply only to those employees that sell cars; partsman is only those employees that retrieves, stocks, and dispenses parts; and mechanics are those employees that performs mechanical work on the cars. In the case of Navarro, these service advisers did none of those job duties and the Court ruled they should be paid overtime.

The company has also made a new challenge to the traditional rule that exemptions be narrowly construed.  The Supreme Court has already determined that exceptions to the FLSA not found in the section on exemptions are not narrowly construed.  This case could therefore have repercussions well beyond the car service industry.

With the complexity of overtime and wage laws, it is important to only consult with an attorney that has experience with wage and overtime theft. Contact Maduff & Maduff today for help with your employment law needs.