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Victory for Northwest Auto Dealers in Overtime Case

May 19, 2005

OREGON – A federal appeals court reversed the lower court decisions made in an overtime case that would award thousands of dollars in unpaid overtime to former dealership workers.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last Wednesday that auto dealers could classify finance and insurance managers as ineligible for overtime, saying their work is an “integral part of the dealerships’ business.”

The decision made last week overturned three lower court rulings in 2002 and 2003 favoring workers. In one case, Thomason Ford was ordered to pay more than $75,100 in overtime wages to a former employee. The owners of the dealership appealed, along with courtesy Ford in Portland and Hasselwood Buick-Pontiac Co. in Washington.

The U.S. Department of Labor filed a brief in that appeal supporting the car dealers, saying that the workers should be considered commissioned sales people, exempt from overtime rules.

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