Misclassification – Exempt Employee v. Non-Exempt Employee

Under California and Federal law, there are two classifications for workers that are “employees.”  The classifications are “Exempt Employees” and a “Non-Exempt Employees.”  On this page, we will only consider these exemptions as they apply under California law.

Exempt Employees generally do not have the same rights to overtime pay, meal and rest breaks, and other wage and hour benefits that Non-Exempt Employees do. Most employees in California fall under the “Non-Exempt Employee” category.

If you believe that you were misclassified as an “Exempt Employee” instead of a “Non-Exempt Employee” you may be owed reimbursement and other damages.  Contact Abogato and speak with one of lawyers to see how we can help.

HOW DO I KNOW WHETHER I AM AN EXEMPT EMPLOYEE OR A NON-EXEMPT EMPLOYEE?

Most employees in California fall under the “Non-Exempt Employee” category.  In order to be considered an “Exempt Employee” under California law, you must earn a monthly salary that is double the state minimum wage and fall under one of the following seven categories:

  1. Executive
  2. Administrative
  3. Outside Sales
  4. Inside Sales
  5. Learned Professional
  6. Creative Professional
  7. Computer Professional

Each of these categories has strict requirements that must be met in order for you to be truly considered an “Exempt Employee.”  For example, the “Administrative” exemption may include workers in managerial roles.  However, not all managers are considered “Exempt Employees.”  Managers must perform duties related to management policies or general business operations and they must do so more than half of the time.

Figuring out whether you should be considered an “Exempt Employee” or a “Non-Exempt Employee” can be difficult.  It is best to consult with an attorney to help you analyze your employment situation.

IF I AM PAID A SALARY DOES THAT MEAN THAT I AM AN EXEMPT EMPLOYEE?

No.  Being a salaried worker is not a requirement to being considered an Exempt or Non-Exempt Employee.  That determination is made as explained above.

Many times, employers will pay their Exempt employees a salary because overtime pay does not apply to them and it is simply more convenient to calculate.  For example, if you are salaried Exempt Employee and you work 10 hours in one day and 3 hours the next, you will still be paid your regular salary.  However, if you are a Non-Exempt Employee, then you should be getting paid overtime pay (time-and-a-half in this example) for 2 out of the 8 hours that you worked during the 10 hour day.

If you are a salaried worker, it is important to make sure that you are correctly classified as an Exempt Employee.  If you are not, then you will want to make sure that you are receiving all the benefits you deserve as a Non-Exempt Employee, like overtime pay and meal and rest breaks.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF BEING A NON-EXEMPT EMPLOYEE?

In general, Non-Exempt Employees have the right to overtime pay, meal and rest breaks, and other wage and hour benefits.  

YOU MAY BE OWED REIMBURSEMENT IF YOU HAVE BEEN MISCLASSIFIED

If a court or the Labor Commissioner determines that you should be classified as a “Non-Exempt Employee” and not an “Exempt Employee” you may be owed a reimbursement for potential wage and hour law violations.  For example, if you worked overtime but did not receive overtime payment, your employer may have to reimburse you that amount.

If your employer intentionally misclassified you as an “Exempt Employee” instead of a “Non-Exempt Employee,” then your employer may have to pay penalties for every violation of wage and hour laws.

If you believe that you were misclassified call Abogato and talk to one our attorneys to see how we can help.

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