Walnut Creek Misclassification & Exempt/Hourly Lawyer
Most employees are protected by federal and state wage and hour laws. A small number, however, are classified as “exempt” from these laws. And unfortunately, some employers will, either inadvertently or willfully, misclassify a non-exempt worker as exempt. When that happens, the non-exempt worker can–and should–take legal action to assert their rights.
The Walnut Creek misclassification & exempt/hourly lawyers at Venardi Zurada, LLP, represent hourly workers like you who have been wrongfully denied important legal protections, such as minimum wage and overtime pay, because they were improperly labeled as “exempt” by their employer. We can help you recover monetary damages including back pay, interest, and legal fees. Just as importantly, we can ensure your employer complies with the law moving forward.
Who Is Considered an “Exempt” Employee?
An employee is non-exempt unless a specific exemption applies to them. Two common categories of non-exempt employees are independent contractors and outside salespersons. But perhaps the largest–and most frequently abused–classification of exempt workers are “executive, administrative, and professional” employees. Also known as the “white collar” exemption, this typically covers salaried (as opposed to hourly wage) employees who are primarily engaged in front office tasks. An exempt white collar employee must earn a certain minimum salary and “regularly and customarily exercise discretion and independent judgment on the job.”
What this means is that simply giving an assembly line worker a “managerial” title without putting them on salary or granting them any actual administrative authority is not enough to classify them as an exempt employee. Again, the white collar exemption is only meant for those workers who spend at least half of their working time independently performing some sort of executive, administrative, or professional task.
Why Do Employers Engage in Misclassification?
Sometimes misclassification is an honest error on the part of the employer. But more often we find that it is willful. Employers engage in misclassification because they think it will help them save time and/or money. For example, an exempt employee can work more than 40 hours per week without receiving additional overtime pay. Nor are exempt employees to certain statutory meal or rest breaks required by California law. Employers also do not need to keep track of individual hours worked by exempt employees, since they are usually paid on a salary basis.
What Can I Do About Misclassification?
You can sue. Misclassification is a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act and similar California statutes. If you sue your employer for misclassification and win, you can collect monetary damages, including any unpaid minimum wage and overtime, compensation for missed meal and rest breaks, and even your legal fees and court costs. In some cases, federal law may even require your employer to pay double damages for an intentional misclassification.
So if you believe that you have been improperly exempted from state and federal labor laws, you need to speak with an experienced Walnut Creek misclassification lawyer right away. Contact Venardi Zurada, LLP, today to schedule a free consultation with a member of our team.