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Are Computer Employees or Information Technology Employees Entitled to Overtime Wages in North Carolina?

Information technology and computer professionals are increasingly common in our technology-driven society. As North Carolina’s economy becomes more dependent on computer and IT professionals, more employers are taking advantage of various state and federal laws exempting certain computer workers from overtime compensation. Not all employers are following the rules. If your employer is denying you overtime compensation or minimum wage, contact Maginnis Law, PLLC at 919.526.0450 or send a confidential email our contact page.

Many computer and information technology employees in North Carolina are not paid overtime because of the “computer professional exemption.” However, not all computer workers are exempt from overtime. The computer professional exemption is primarily designed to cover computer programmers, computer coders, and computer architects.

To be exempt from overtime pursuant to the computer professional exemption, an employee must meet several requirements. Initially, the computer employee must be compensated on a salary of not less than $455 per week or at an hourly rate of not less than $27.63 per hour. Secondly, the employee must also be employed as a computer systems analyst, computer programmer, software engineer or other similarly skilled worker in the computer field performing duties consisting of: (a) the application of systems analysis techniques and procedures, including consulting with users, to determine hardware software or system functional specifications; (b) the design, development, documentation, analysis, creation, testing or modification of computer systems or programs, including prototypes, based on and related to user or system design specifications; or (c) the design, documentation, testing, creation or modification of computer programs related to machine operating systems.

The Department of Labor makes clear that the computer employee exemption does not apply to employees manufacturing or repairing computer hardware or other computer equipment. Further, engineers, drafters, and other employees that use computers and computer software programs, but are not engaged in computer systems analysis and programing, are not exempt from overtime compensation.

Generally speaking, employees labeled as information technology specialists, systems administrators, database or web administrators, network operators and engineers, and helpdesk support are not exempted under the computer professional exemption and should be paid overtime. However, labels are not dispositive. Each case must be closely analyzed to determine whether the computer employee exemption applies.

The computer professional exemption can encompass a wide variety of computer jobs. Courts will examine what the computer employee’s primary duties are when determining whether the employee is entitled to overtime. Employee’s performing repetitive tasks (i.e., updating computers or troubleshooting), following rules and procedures set by the company, and working under close supervision may be improperly labeled as overtime exempt.

If you are a computer worker or information technology professional and believe you have unlawfully had overtime compensation withheld, contact overtime compensation attorney Karl S. Gwaltney at or at 919.526.0450. You do not have to confront your employer alone. The overtime attorneys at Maginnis Law, PLLC are skilled at representing single employees or groups of employee’s in obtaining owed wages.