When you go to work, you expect to receive accurate and fair pay for the hours you’ve worked. You probably trust that your employer is keeping an accurate and up-to-date record of the time you’ve spent on the clock, and you likely assume that he or she is carefully calculating the precise amount that your paycheck should be based on your hourly wage, appropriate taxes and more. It can be devastating and more than a little frustrating to learn that your employer has not been paying you properly.
One of the most common reasons for mistakes with employee wages is misclassification. The classification of the individual employee is one of the determining factors in how he or she is paid. By having you in the wrong classification, it is easier to avoid paying you some of your rightfully earned wages, such as overtime. If you believe that your employer is engaging in unfair wage and hour practices, you do not have to remain silent.
Are you exempt or non-exempt?
It is in your interests to understand employee classification and what that means for the wages you are owed. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, employees are either exempt or non-exempt. Your classification is important as it determines your eligibility for things such as overtime pay, break time, employee benefits, compensation and meal breaks. Your classification is based on your role at the company, your job description and other factors. The differences between exempt and non-exempt include the following:
- Exempt employees are typically salaried employees, which means they make a set amount that is not based on an hourly rate.
- Exempt employees are usually not eligible for overtime pay.
- Exempt employees typically hold leadership or management positions.
- Non-exempt employees are typically paid on an hourly basis.
- Non-exempt employees are eligible for overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours per week.
- Non-exempt employees often hold more technical or manual duties.
If you believe that your employer is not paying you fairly, you do not have to simply endure this unfair treatment. You may speak out about this injustice and fight for the wages to which you are entitled. One important step is to seek guidance regarding your legal options, including the possibility of a civil claim against your employer. You may find it helpful to seek insight about your rights as a California employee as soon as possible.