Exceeding Your Expectations

 

 “One of the most costly mistakes that an employer can make is failing to pay overtime to an employee who is legally entitled to receive such wages.”[1] Frequently, this mistake occurs as the result of an employer erroneously classifying an employee as exempt. While certain classes of employees are exempt from overtime pay, employers often make the mistake of classifying employees based solely on their job titles, instead of considering the duties that the employees actually perform.  

             Per the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA), employees in the United States who meet certain standards regarding their job duties and who are paid at least $455 per week on a salary basis are exempt from overtime pay.[2]  All other employees are considered non-exempt, and therefore must be paid at least the federal minimum wage for all hours worked, plus overtime, at 1.5 times the regular rate of pay, for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek.[3]

In addition to complying with the federal law, employers in California must also comply with state overtime laws.[4]  Exemptions from mandatory overtime provisions are strictly interpreted in California and are only applied to employees who clearly fall within their terms.  And even though the state’s overtime provisions do not generally apply to administrators, executives, professionals, computer professionals, and outside salespersons, it is up to the employer to prove that an employee has been properly classified as exempt.[5]  Because California’s overtime laws are more restrictive than the federal laws, employees usually prefer to sue under state law. 

Moreover, employers must pay no less than time-and-one-half for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek, or 8 hours in one workday.[6]  Employers also must pay no less than double the employee’s regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 12 in one workday.[7]  Further, if an employee works seven consecutive days in a workweek, the employer must pay him no less than time-and-one-half for the first eight hours worked on the seventh consecutive day, and at least double the regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of eight hours on that day.[8]

However, there is one exception to California’s eight-hour daily standard.  Employees may adopt a regularly scheduled “alternative work week,” which authorizes employees to work no more than 10 hours a day, 4 days a week, without receiving payment of overtime for the ninth and tenth hours.[9]  But a proposal to adopt an alternative work week must be approved by at least two-thirds of the affected employees.[10]  If an alternative work week is adopted, the employees must still receive overtime at a rate of time-and-one-half for the first two hours of additional work, and double-time for any hours worked in excess of 12 in one day.[11]

If you believe your employer is wrongly refusing to pay you overtime, or if you believe you have been misclassified as exempt from overtime compensation, contact an experienced employment attorney at the JCL LAW FIRM, APC, at 1-888-498-6999 for a free consultation.



[1] Labor and Employment in California: A Guide to Employment Laws, Regulations, and Practices, Ch. 2, Section 2-7 (Matthew Bender, 2d Ed.)

[2] 1-2 Labor & Employment in California § 2-7

[3] Labor and Employment in California: A Guide to Employment Laws, Regulations, and Practices, Ch. 2, Section 2-7 (Matthew Bender, 2d Ed.)

[4] Todd R. Wulffson & Ashley A. Halberda, Exempt Employee Overtime Pay: A Very Expensive Oxymoron, 2015 Orange County Lawyer 18, 19.

[5] Labor and Employment in California: A Guide to Employment Laws, Regulations, and Practices, Ch. 2, Section 2-7 (Matthew Bender, 2d Ed.)

[6] Labor and Employment in California: A Guide to Employment Laws, Regulations, and Practices, Ch. 2, Section 2-7 (Matthew Bender, 2d Ed.)

[7] Labor and Employment in California: A Guide to Employment Laws, Regulations, and Practices, Ch. 2, Section 2-7 (Matthew Bender, 2d Ed.)

[8] Labor and Employment in California: A Guide to Employment Laws, Regulations, and Practices, Ch. 2, Section 2-7 (Matthew Bender, 2d Ed.)

[9] Jeffrey C. Freedman, Department: Law Office Management: How California’s New Laws on Overtime Affect the Law Office, 23 Los Angeles Lawyer 25, 25 (2000).


[10] Jeffrey C. Freedman, Department: Law Office Management: How California’s New Laws on Overtime Affect the Law Office, 23 Los Angeles Lawyer 25, 25 (2000).

[11]Jeffrey C. Freedman, Department: Law Office Management: How California’s New Laws on Overtime Affect the Law Office, 23 Los Angeles Lawyer 25, 25 (2000).

  • 10200 Willow Creek Road, Suite 150
  • San Diego, CA 92131
Disclaimer: This web site is designed to provide general information only. The information provided is presented for informational purposes and should not be construed to constitute legal advice nor is it intended to create an attorney/client relationship. Our law offices require the execution of a written retainer agreement before any legal services are rendered.