Professional Exemption Defense Dooms Large FLSA Collective Action Against KPMG

December 6, 2012Articles Lexology

A federal judge has dismissed a FLSA class action lawsuit where the theory was the group of employees was improperly classified as exempt. There were more than one thousand current and former KPMG LLP employees who could have potentially been class members. The liability would have been, to put it mildly, geometric. The case is entitled Pippins et al. v. KPMG LLP, and was filed in the Southern District of New York.

The judge concluded, in granting the defendant’s summary judgment motion, that the workers fell within the professional exemption and thus there was no legal obligation to pay them overtime. Many of the opt-ins possessed undergraduate and, in some cases, graduate degrees in accounting, business or finance. They also received training from the Company and were all ready to sit for the CPA exam, which influenced the Court to reach its conclusion. A CPA is, by definition, exempt under the FLSA regulations.