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Gibbons v. Technical Services Associates

February 22, 2006

CONNIE GIBBONS, PLAINTIFF
v.
TECHNICAL SERVICES ASSOCIATES, INC., DEFENDANT



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Kane

MEMORANDUM

Plaintiff Connie Gibbons commenced this action against her former employer, Defendant Technical Services Associates, Inc. ("TSA"), seeking to recover unpaid overtime she claims Defendant failed to pay her in violation of certain provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 201 et seq. ("Act" or "FLSA"). Defendant maintains that Plaintiff was exempt from the overtime requirements mandated by the Act because she was a bona fide administrative, executive, or professional employee. The Court held a bench trial on August 29, 2005. The parties submitted post-trial briefs in October 2005. The Court now makes the following findings of fact and conclusions of law.

I. Findings of Fact

1. Defendant TSA is a Pennsylvania corporation that commenced operations in 1985 and is located in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. TSA is a software company that specializes primarily in developing software for the management of purchasing or procurement. (N.T. 65, 66.)

2. In October 1986, Plaintiff began working for Defendant as a secretary, and performed such administrative duties as typing, answering telephones, preparing invoices, and filing. (N.T. 10, 11.) Plaintiff started at a wage of approximately $6.00 per hour and worked as a secretary for one or two years. (N.T. 14.)

3. In 1987 or 1988, Plaintiff entered into a one-year training program to gain experience with Defendant's procurement software business. (Id.)

4. Following this training period, Plaintiff began working in a position offering support to Defendant's FAR-Master software business. FAR-Master was software research engine Defendant developed that contained federal procurement regulations for most federal agencies. (Id.)

5. Plaintiff's duties with the FAR-Master program included providing support to customers, working with Defendant's programmers to resolve problems, developing and updating text associated with the software, assigning editing functions to subordinate employees, prioritizing subordinates' work, managing human resources needs of subordinate employees, and managing the shipping department. (N.T. 14, 15, 67-69, 111, 113.) Plaintiff was essentially in charge of managing the FAR-Master product for TSA. (Id. 69.)

6. Plaintiff's resume and business cards indicate that she became a "product manager" with TSA in the Customer-Off-The-Shelf ("COTS") business line, one of TSA's three business lines. (N.T. 27, 32, 69.) Plaintiff signed official business correspondence and forms as "product manager." (Id. 46.) Plaintiff's resume reflects that her responsibilities included management, supervision, customer service, and serving as a technical liaison to customers. (N.T. 26, 27; Ex. D-1.)

7. As a product manager, Plaintiff solely exercised certain supervisory duties over a number of employees, including scheduling and conducting employee performance reviews, approving vacation and leave, assigning tasks, reviewing and approving time cards, developing employees' work schedules, and directing employees on a daily basis (N.T. 54, 55, 60, 72-74, 76.) One former employee testified that she understood that Plaintiff was her supervisor. (Id. 59.)

8. In addition to the foregoing supervisory responsibilities, Plaintiff routinely conferred with TSA's two senior executives, Jesus Ramos and David Wilson, concerning hiring and terminating employees, and recommending compensation increases for employees in her department. TSA senior management would either defer entirely to Plaintiff's recommendations in these matters, or would rely substantially upon Plaintiff's judgment and advice. (N.T. 71-72, 74, 75, 88, 108-09.) When an employee in her department was to be terminated, Plaintiff was responsible for notifying the employee. (Id. 75.)

9. Plaintiff was one of three TSA employees authorized to sign checks on behalf of the company, and Plaintiff was authorized to purchase any supplies she deemed necessary for her department. (N.T. 76.)

10. In the course of her day-to-day work, Plaintiff was subject to minimal supervision by Messrs. Ramos and Wilson, who had confidence in Plaintiff's intelligence and ability ...


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