Oregon Executive Exemption

by Joel Christiansen

Oregon exempts certain executive employees from overtime, minimum wage, and other laws that would otherwise govern the employment relationship.

Employers expose themselves to liability any time they cannot prove that an employee meets the legal requirements for the executive exemption.

ORS 653.020(3) creates an exemption for workers who are engaged in qualifying executive work:

  • An individual engaged in […] executive […] work who:
    • Performs predominantly intellectual, managerial or creative tasks;
    • Exercises discretion and independent judgment; and
    • Earns a salary and is paid on a salary basis.

OAR 839-020-0005 specifies that “executive employee” means an employee:

  • Whose primary duty consists of the management of the enterprise in which the employee is employed or of a customarily recognized department or subdivision thereof; or
    • is in sole charge of an independent establishment or a physically separated branch establishment; or
    • who owns at least 20 percent interest in the enterprise in which the employee is employed; and
  • Who customarily and regularly directs the work of two or more other employees therein; and
  • Who has the authority to hire or fire other employees or whose suggestions and recommendations as to the hiring or firing and as to the advancement and promotion of any other change of status of other employees will be given particular weight; and
  • Who customarily and regularly exercises discretionary powers; and
  • Who earns a salary and is paid on a salary basis pursuant to ORS 653.025 exclusive of board, lodging, or other facilities.

Please be advised that the above-listed statutes and rules are informational only. Since laws are always changing and will apply differently in different situations, you are encouraged to contact an attorney for help with any particular concerns.