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California's Employees

Misclassification of employees as exempt

Many employees have been misclassified by their employers as salaried and/or exempt (the terms generally mean the same thing). Many salaried employees routinely work in excess of 40 hours per week and never stop to think whether they should be receiving overtime for their rigorous efforts. As a result of the misclassification, those employees are not paid the overtime wages they earned and are owed.

Were You Misclassified?

How do you know if you have been misclassified? The label the parties put on an employee bears little to no legal significance. Why is this important? Because an employee may only be salaried if his or her actual job duties fall squarely in an exemption from state and federal overtime laws. An exemption is an affirmative defense to a claim for unpaid overtime, and therefore the employer bears the burden of pleading and proving the employee was properly classified.

In the event, you were misclassified as a salaried employee at your current or former employer, you may be entitled to substantial monetary damages. For instance, it is very likely you were not compensated with overtime for the hours you worked in excess of eight in a day or 40 in a week. For salaried employees, the typical formula that is used to determine your hourly rate is your annual regular rate of pay, divided by 52, then divided by 40. This hourly rate is then multiplied by one and one-half for hours in excess of eight in a day or 40 in a week. Hours worked in excess of 12 in a day are compensated at double the hourly rate.

How Much Money Is At Stake?

An individual making an annual salary of $75,000 per year is deemed to have an hourly overtime rate of $54.09. If that individual worked an average of 50 hours per week for a period of three years, he or she would be entitled to recover $84,375 in unpaid overtime if he or she was misclassified as exempt.

In addition to uncompensated over time, your current or former employer may owe you substantial interest. Interest is calculated from the date of the paycheck and the wages should have been paid at a rate of 10 percent per year. Additionally, there are several penalties that would likely apply on top of the overtime and interest that can also substantially increase the amount owed. Add to this, the fact your attorney’s fees and costs may be recovered as a part of any judgment against your current or former employer, and you may have very substantial claims flowing from your misclassification.

If you are not sure if you were properly paid a salary, contact us for a free consultation. Le Clerc & Le Clerc LLP has significant expertise representing current and former employees in misclassification cases.

Get The Legal Help You Need

In San Francisco, and throughout Northern California, our lawyers are prepared to help. To schedule a free initial consultation to see if you have a case, call an attorney at 415-445-0900 or contact us online.