An exempt employee is one who California wages and hours laws don’t apply. Meaning such an employee is not entitled to overtime or even paid meal or rest breaks.
Your employer doesn’t have to group you among the exempt employees while the work and the treatment you receive prove otherwise. The federal and state laws have set aside regulations to ensure employees are not misclassified as exempt. And if you believe you have been misclassified, you may have a claim.
Misclassification As Exempt
One primary reason employers misclassify employers as exempt is to avoid working towards ensuring employee rights covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). To avoid paying overtime and other job benefits, employers classify workers as exempt when they are not.
One of the few basic requirements that you may consider when determining whether they you are an exempt is your minimum wage. Generally, your employer has no legal right to make you exempt when the below doesn’t apply to you:
- You are not paid on a salary basis. Your employer hasn’t set amount for every period, regardless of whether you work the whole day or how much you handle.
- You never signed a contract indicating you are an exempt employee.
This may be based on the white-collar exemptions that fall into three main categories, namely:
- Professional exemption for employees who must possess a college degree or a higher position which is acquired through intellectual instructions.
- Executive exemptions for those who manage businesses or can hire or fire employees etc.
- Administrative exemption for those employees who make decisions for the smooth running of a business. Also, such who exercise independent judgment on special business matters.
Not every worker is protected by the wage laws. According to FLSA, one is considered exempt if they work in an office or other specialized area. If your contract stated you are an exempt employee but don’t fall under any of the above categories, you might be misclassified.
Unfortunately, not many employees are aware of such issues; hence, they lose the benefits allowed to nonexempt employees.
Employee misclassification has been a growing concern that is addressed mainly through class action lawsuits. If you have been misclassified as a group of employees, you may consider seeking legal help from class action attorneys in Los Angeles. Former employees may also gang up to file a class-action lawsuit against those who believe they have been misclassified as exempt.
If you believe you have been misclassified as exempt, you should talk to your employer. An employment lawyer can give you tips on how to complain about your misclassification.
Many employees are faced with the dilemma of whether to raise a complaint and how to do it. Before reporting any misclassification, you should ensure to understand how the misclassification affects you. For instance, if you have been working for more than 8 hours in a day and yet have not received overtime, you need to have records of the hours worked and how much compensation of overtime you have lost.
It’s a good idea to first speak with a lawyer to understand the relationship between you and your employer. If necessary, take the next step of informing your employer about the mistake. Make sure to be courteous enough to avoid other nasty issues from cropping up. Politely let them know of your concern, but if they seem no to respond well to your concerns; make them aware that you will take legal action.
A Lawyer Can Help With Misclassification
Every state has its own laws regarding wage and hour laws. Thus one would find it easier to seek legal guidance from an employment lawyer.
You can take legal action by speaking to an attorney. Such an attorney can help you demand what is rightfully yours in terms of back payment, interest, penalties, reimbursements for your overtime pay, among other damages.
Where you have suffered as a group, your class action lawsuit would need a certification; this means that:
- There must be potential claimants who have one common fact or rather employees who have been harmed by the same wrongdoing
- There must be a representative who has suffered the same harm, and he/she should protect the whole class.
To be classified as exempt, you must meet some requirements that don’t apply to non-exempt workers. For example, if you’re considered an exempt, your employer wouldn’t be providing you with overtime, meal, or rest breaks offered to nonexempt employees. But if this is not the case and you are suffering simply because you signed an employment contract indicating you are exempt, but the working relationship proves otherwise, you may be eligible for compensation.
If you are not sure about your situation, a lawyer can help clarify any misunderstanding you may have concerning misclassification.