Have You Been Misclassified as Exempt from Overtime Laws?

Construction employee working late.Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, many employees are owed overtime compensation when they work more than 40 hours in a week. Overtime pay must be equal to one and one half of an employee’s regular rate of pay.

While some employees are exempt from overtime requirements, employers often misclassify workers as exempt when they are not. If you believe that your employer intentionally misclassified you and failed to pay you the overtime compensation you are owed, our experienced Sacramento wage and hour lawyers are ready to help. Schedule a free consultation today.

Below, review some red flags that may indicate you have been misclassified as exempt from overtime requirements.

Job Title Determined You Were Exempt

Some employers tell employees they are exempt from overtime laws because of their job titles. However, your job title does not determine if you are exempt from overtime requirements. You are not exempt just because you are a manager, supervisor or assistant manager.

Employees are only considered exempt if they meet the criteria for one of the exemptions under federal or state law. There are various exemptions, including:

  • Executive exemption – This exemption applies to those whose primary job duties involve managing the company or a specific department. They must direct the work of two or more full-time employees and must have the ability to hire, fire or recommend personnel decisions.
  • Administrative exemption – This applies to employees whose primary job duties include office work related to the management or operations of a business, including making independent judgment regarding significant matters.
  • Professional exemption – These workers generally include individuals who have advanced knowledge and perform primarily intellectual work. This exemption includes doctors, teachers, engineers and accountants.

Even if only some of your job duties qualify for an exemption, you are not exempt and must be paid overtime if you work more than 40 hours in a week.

You Are Paid on an Hourly Basis

There are some exceptions when hourly employees are exempt from overtime requirements. For example, computer employees who earn more than $58,240 per year and work as computer systems analysts, software engineers or computer programmers may be exempt. However, many employees paid on an hourly basis are owed overtime when they work overtime hours.

If you are being denied overtime and are paid on an hourly basis, you may want to discuss your situation with a knowledgeable attorney.

You Are Classified as an Independent Contractor

Another common type of misclassification is calling an employee an independent contractor. The Fair Labor Standards Act does not require independent contractors to be paid minimum wage or overtime. This is why some employers intentionally misclassify certain employees as independent contractors.

There are several criteria that could indicate you are an employee and have been misclassified as an independent contractor:

  • The employer has the right to direct or control your work
  • You are paid weekly, hourly or monthly
  • Your schedule is dictated by your employer
  • You were trained by your employer
  • You receive insurance, pension, vacation or sick leave benefits

In California, Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) codified the landmark decision of the Dynamex case where the state supreme court determined that the stringent, three-pronged “ABC Test” must be used to determine worker classification in wage-order claims.

The “ABC Test” presumes that a person is an employee and not a contractor. The burden to prove otherwise is on the employer. To do this, the employer must demonstrate that the worker satisfies the following criteria:

  1. The person is free from the control and direction of the hiring entity in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for the performance of the work and in fact.
  2. The person performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business.
  3. The person is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as that involved in the work performed.

If your employer proves any of these points, then you are most likely misclassified and thus eligible for unpaid overtime wages.

Your Primary Duty is Manual Labor

If you do repetitive work with your hands that requires physical skill, none of the overtime exemptions apply to you. This is often the case for plumbers, iron workers, longshoremen, construction workers and electricians.

Contact a Reputable Lawyer

If you are owed unpaid wages, it is important that you speak to our experienced attorneys as soon as possible.

We offer a free consultation explaining your rights and the legal options that may be available to you.

Additionally, our lawyers can take steps to protect your legal rights, including by filing a claim within the applicable deadline to pursue compensation.

Call 916-777-7777 right now.