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Veterinarians Need Not Be Paid Overtime

Employees of a veterinary group need not be paid additional amounts for hours worked over forty, whether they are salaried or paid per shift

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (which governs Arizona) has examined whether veterinarians must be paid overtime for hours worked over forty in a workweek.  The Court also examined whether paying veterinarians on a per-shift basis, rather than on a salary basis, destroys the exception from payment of overtime.

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, most employees must be paid time and one half for hours worked over forty in a workweek.  Certain types of professionals are exempted from payment of overtime if they are paid on a salary basis.  Also, physicians and other practitioners of medical science are exempt from the payment of overtime for hours worked over forty in a workweek, even if they are not paid on a salary basis.

In Clark v. United Emergency Animal Clinic, two veterinarians providing emergency care for animals at night, on weekends and on holidays for United Emergency Animal Clinic, sued their employer claiming they were entitled to overtime compensation for all of the twelve-hour shifts they worked.  United Emergency Animal Clinic paid them on a per-shift basis and did not pay time and one half even if they worked more than forty hours in a workweek.  The Court dismissed the veterinarians' claims, finding that the claims for overtime pay failed because veterinarians should be compensated only on the same basis as other physicians.

The practical implications of this ruling are that employees of a veterinary group need not be paid additional amounts for hours worked over forty, whether they are paid on a per-shift basis, or a salary basis.