This was actually explained to me by our STL one time. In fact, he told me this is actually company policy in the "exempt" employee handbook. (yes, they actually get a separate employee handbook than we get)
Ok, under federal law in order for target to classify ETLs as "exempt" employees (in other words, not have to pay them over time) they must meet the *legal definition* of management. If they spend more than a certain amount of time (and it isn't much) doing "hourly" work, then Target can no longer legally classify them as "exempt" - and thus would have to pay them overtime as an hourly employee. So in other words, your ETLs are not being "lazy" - THEY ARE FOLLOWING THE LAW.
I know it is fun to demonize people, but in all fairness there is actually a legal reason for this. ETLs simply can not *legally* perform more than only a small amount of hourly tasks in order to be salaried and exempt from overtime laws. Here is an article that actually explains this: (I have bolded the relevant parts)
"Employees whose jobs are governed by the FLSA are either "exempt" or "nonexempt." Nonexempt employees are entitled to overtime pay. Exempt employees are not. Most employees covered by the FLSA are nonexempt. Some are not.
Some jobs are classified as exempt by definition. For example, "outside sales" employees are exempt ("inside sales" employeesare nonexempt). For most employees, however, whether they are exempt or nonexempt depends on (a) how much they are paid, (b) how they are paid, and (c) what kind of work they do.
With few exceptions, to be exempt an employee must (a) be paid at least $23,600 per year ($455 per week), and (b) be paid on a salary basis, and also (c) perform exempt job duties. These requirements are outlined in the FLSA Regulations (promulgated by the U.S. Department of Labor). Most employees must meet all three "tests" to be exempt.
An employee who meets the salary level tests and also the salary basis tests is exempt only if s/he also performs exempt job duties. These FLSA exemptions are limited to employees who perform relatively high-level work
. Whether the duties of a particular job qualify as exempt depends on what they are. Job titles or position descriptions are of limited usefulness in this determination. (A secretary is still a secretary even if s/he is called an "administrative assistant," and the chief executive officer is still the CEO even if s/he is called a janitor.) It is the actual job tasks that must be evaluated, along with how the particular job tasks "fit" into the employer's overall operations.
There are three typical categories of exempt job duties, called "executive
," "professional," and "administrative."
Exempt executive job duties.
Job duties are exempt executive job duties if the employee
regularly supervises two or more other employees, and also
has management as the primary duty of the position, and also,
has some genuine input into the job status of other employees (such as hiring, firing, promotions, or assignments).
Supervision means what it implies. The supervision must be a regular part of the employee's job
, and must be of other employees. Supervision of non-employees does not meet the standard. The "two employees" requirement may be met by supervising two full-time employees or the equivalent number of part-time employees. (Two half-time employees equal one full-time employee.)
"Mere supervision" is not sufficient. In addition, the supervisory employee must have "management" as the "primary duty" of the job.
The FLSA Regulations contain a list of typical management duties. These include (in addition to supervision):"
Sooooo..... what does that mean? Legally ETLs *cannot* sit around performing hourly work, otherwise they could turn around and sue Target for huge gobs of overtime saying they don't meet the legal requirements to be "exempt" from overtime laws. Yes, they can do it sometimes, but the PRIMARY job has to be management..... and sitting around telling other what to do, sadly, is "management".