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Justices decline to take up whether mortgage underwriters fall under FLSA administrative exemption

By Pamela Wolf, J.D.

The Supreme Court will not consider the question of whether mortgage underwriters qualify as “administrative” employees exempt from FLSA overtime requirements. On November 27, the Court denied the petition for certiorari filed in Provident Savings Bank, FSB v. McKeen-Chaplin (No. 17-371), which offered the Justices an opportunity to address that question.

Below, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that mortgage underwriters employed by Provident Savings Bank were entitled to overtime compensation for hours worked in excess of 40 per week, reversing a district court’s summary judgment ruling in favor of the bank. Applying the analysis used by the Second Circuit, rather than the Sixth Circuit, the appeals court held that because the mortgage underwriters’ primary job duty did not relate to the bank’s management or general business operations, the administrative exemption to the FLSA’s overtime requirements did not apply.

The underwriters’ duties went to the heart of the bank’s marketplace offerings, not to the internal administration of its business, so the bank could not prove that the mortgage underwriters qualified for the administrative exemption.