An interesting article in Lawyers & Settlements raises the important and interesting issue of who gets to be classified as “exempt” under California Labor Law. The article gives the example of Claudia, who is employed as a supervisor in the retail industry and classified as “exempt.” This is in keeping with California law, except for one problem. Claudia’s work everyday involved stocking shelves, helping customers and cleaning the store and she racked up a lot of overtime. But, because of her “exempt” classification, she was not eligible to receive overtime pay. The question in such cases is: Has the employee been misclassified?
Understanding these employment laws can be challenging. For example, in order to be classified as a supervisor, an employee must perform supervisorial duties such as managing employees. If an employer classifies an employee as a supervisor simply with the goal of ducking overtime obligations, then, it is illegal.
When is Exempt Classification Justified?
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), all employees are entitled to be paid a minimum wage for all hours worked. They are also entitled to receive one and a half times their regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 hours during a workweek. There are some exceptions to this rule. One way in which employers try to get around this rule is by misclassifying an employee as exempt and deprive him or her of legally required overtime pay.
How do you know if you are misclassified? It is important that employees who suspect they have been misclassified contact an experienced California employment attorney who can conduct a thorough analysis of the facts. The issue of “exempt” status usually depends on the job duties performed by the employee despite his or her job title. The employee’s salary and job duties must meet the specific requirements of the specific exemption.
Protecting Workers’ Rights
Federal regulations recognize that in today’s environment employees need to multi-task. However, in order to be classified as “exempt,” an employee must perform predominantly supervisorial activities. Supervisors can manage employees while performing other tasks, but they have to do more than occasionally directing other employees. California law requires that in order to be exempt, more than half the working time must be spent performing exempt work.
It is unacceptable for an employer to cut corners and shortchange an employee. If you have been mistreated, exploited or harassed on the job, please contact an experienced California employment lawyer who will fight for your rights and ensure that you get justice and fair compensation for your significant losses.