Field Service Engineers

Field Service Engineers can be entitled to overtime
Field Service Engineers/Field Service Technicians usually receive a salary yet are often still entitled to overtime.  One of the biggest mistakes employees make is thinking that they are not entitled to overtime pay because they are or were paid a salary.  In the last 5 years, field service engineers around the United States have filed a large number of successful overtime cases.

What are Field Service Engineers?
Field service engineers and field service technicians are men and women who spend their workday installing, repairing, and/or servicing their employer’s products, systems, and/or equipment out in the field at various locations/sites.   Some of the industries that hire field service employees include the healthcare, communications industry, semiconductor, environmental, computer, network-critical power equipment, and construction industries.
Usually, field service employees have an Associate’s degree in electronics or some other related field, and/or some other form of electronics training, although some have Bachelor’s Degrees. Since the job is extremely hands-on, much of their experience comes through actually working in the field.

Why are Field Service Engineers and/or Field Service Technicians Entitled to Overtime?
Filed Service Engineers and/or Field Service Technicians are usually entitled to overtime pay because the job duties of most field service engineers/technicians primarily consist of manual labor and customer service.  Unfortunately, some companies pay engineers/technicians a salary without additional compensation for the overtime hours they work over forty (40) per week.
The United States Department of Labor has issued two Opinion Letters addressing the exempt status of field service engineers and technicians.  See Op. Letter, 1985 DOLWH LEXIS 69 (July 11, 1985); 2000 WL 34444354 (July 14, 2000). These letters explain that field service engineers and technicians are not exempt (i.e. are entitled to overtime pay) either under what is known as the administrative or professional exemptions to the Fair Labor Standards Act.

A Typical Field Service Engineer Overtime Case
It is probably unfair to say that there are “typical cases” that involve Field Service Engineers. However, many cases start like this:
1.    A Field Service Engineer (FSE) works for his employers installing, servicing and repairing some type of machinery that has been sold to a customer.  This piece of machinery can be the same thing all over the United States, or it can be different pieces of machinery.  Some examples include smokestacks, printing presses, factory automation equipment and injection molding machines.  
2.    The FSE works out of his or her home and travels a lot throughout a certain region, or sometimes throughout the entire United States or even around the world.  While away from home, the Field Service Engineer installs equipment, checks on equipment and/or gives technical support to help customers.
3.    The FSE realizes that he or she working a lot-often well over 40 hours in a given workweek and sometimes well over 70 hours a week.
4.    The FSE hears (through Bigelowlegal.com or another firms website, or sometimes from a friend) that he or she may be entitled to overtime and, ultimately, files a case.
At some point, what is known as an “Opt-In Form” is sent out to potential members of the class.  If the case settles (or if we are successful at trial), the FSEs who “opted-in” receive a portion of the settlement-which is often tens of thousands of dollars.   
If you are a Field Service Technician or Engineer and are not paid overtime, you may have a claim.  Contact Bigelow Legal today and let Robb help you.

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