Answer from Kyle, PHR: No, it’s fine to classify managers as nonexempt. You are under no obligation to classify any employees as exempt, even if they meet the criteria under the Fair Labor Standards Act. You could have an entire workforce of nonexempt employees, right up to the CEO. The important thing is to follow all wage and hour laws applicable to nonexempt employees, including paying them for overtime.
Having said that, there are advantages to classifying employees as exempt if they meet all the criteria. It’s administratively easier for you as the employer—no need to track hours for calculating overtime—and many employees prefer to be paid a salary that doesn’t change from week to week.
You can learn more about the criteria for classifying employees as exempt, such as the duties tests and salary thresholds, on the platform.