Some employers have a tendency to do everything they can to undercut their workers. They may not want to pay out appropriate wages or they may purposely withhold benefits and bonuses. In some scenarios, the employer will actually misclassify the employee to subvert the law. This circumvention is common when it comes to labeling workers as independent contractors or full-time workers, but it is also very prevalent in splitting exempt and nonexempt employees. Exemption is related to wage and hour laws; an exempt employee is not subject to these regulations, so they can be overworked in many ways without penalty for the employer. If you have been misclassified at your job, our law firm, the California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group, can assist you with a lawsuit against your company. A Los Angeles employee misclassification attorney will take your call.
What are wage and hour laws?
Non-exempt employees are those who take on hourly work or a small salary. They have certain rights regarding the wages they can earn and the hours they can work. Examples that are specific include:
- Minimum wage pay of at least $11.00 per hour
- Overtime pay for any hours worked in excess of 8 hours a day, 40 hours in a week, and hours worked on the 7th consecutive day of work
- Double time pay (overtime at 2x compensation) for any hours past 12 worked in a workday and any hours in excess of 8 worked on the 7th consecutive day of work)
- A 30 minute meal break on any workday in excess of 5 hours
- An additional 30 minute meal break on any workday in excess of 10 hours
- Two 10 minute rest breaks during each 4 hour work period
If an employer forces you to work through meal periods or rest breaks, you can receive compensation from him. They will have to pay you an entire hour of pay for the missed period. Further, it should be known that you can actually waive your meal period in certain instances, but both you and your employer must agree to it. You can waive your meal period if you do not work in excess of 6 hours, and waive your second meal period if you do not work in excess of 12 hours and you have not waived the first one.
These laws are important to understand. Your employer may try to sneakily ask you to complete tasks during your lunch break and claim that they are urgent, or require you to stay over your necessary hours to finish projects. You are owed compensation for these hours if you are a non-exempt employee.
It is easy to see, therefore, why employers will often misclassify their workers.
How can I be exempt from these wage and hour laws?
Exempt employees must meet certain criteria in order to be considered. In California, there are three specific requirements, which are:
Your salary must be at least twice minimum wage, and you must be employed full time. Your job duties must be white collar, or administrative or professional in nature. Finally, your judgment must be independent, and you must use your own discretion when completing your tasks. Managers, supervisors, CEOs, and similar positions are usually exempt for these reasons. These requirements must all be met without a doubt or reason to doubt them. If there is any grey area or if it is not considerably obvious that they are met, the employee will not be considered exempt.
In addition, there are some jobs that are exempt. They include the following:
- Workers who work on commission, such as salesmen, whose commissioned payments make up more than half of their salary
- Computer professionals and Information Technology workers
- Private school teachers and instructors who teach grades 1 through 12 and have teaching credential
- Physicians and surgeons who have licenses
- Truck drivers, who are usually required to deliver goods on long trips, but must not be required to work more than a certain amount of hours in a day due to dangers
- Outside or traveling salespersons who spend more than half their time working away from their place of employment and who sell goods, contracts, services, and memberships
- Workers under CBAs or who are unionized
If you feel that you have been misclassified by your employer, you should seek appropriate legal action. You may be owed a fair amount of compensation if wages were withheld from you.
Can my employer be punished for misclassifying me?
Yes, your employer can be punished for misclassifying employers. They will be made to pay out overtime wages, for one, but they can also be penalized for over $100 per pay period. If they do not keep proper records of your pay, they can be subject to a $50 penalty per period that is not recorded.
In addition, you could sue your employer and seek damages.
How can I file a claim for misclassification?
To sue your employer for misclassification, you should first try to resolve the issue with your boss, payroll, or HR department. You can point out that your duties do not meet the requirements and that you must be paid your fair wages. If your boss denies you, you should make a lengthy log with all of your hours worked and your wages tallied. This will show how much you are owed and what was not paid to you.
You should keep the following evidence:
- Pay stubs
- Journal of your hours, meal periods, rest breaks, and more
- Video footage showing the time you worked
- Messages and requests for overtime
- Statements from coworkers showing that you worked additional hours or were misclassified
- Key card or log in sheets
- Copy of your job duties
- Salary history and pay history
Once you have all of your evidence together, you can contact an attorney to handle your claim. We will look over all of your proof, organize it, and file a wage claim on your behalf. We can file with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, or sue your employer outright in court for misclassification.
How long do I have to sue my employer for misclassification?
The statute of limitations for a wage claim in California is 3 years from the date the wages were legally due to you. It is important to adhere to the statute of limitations and file a claim quickly; if you do not sue within that time period, your lawsuit will be thrown out and you will no longer be entitled to those wags. Further, if you wait too long, your employer may not actually have the funds to pay you.
What can I receive in a misclassification claim?
If your employer misclassified you and caused you to lose out on a lot of wages, you could sue for reimbursement. Your overtime, bonuses, and perks could be paid in full. You may be able to collect both overtime wages that were one and a half times your pay and twice your pay. Additionally, you could receive punitive damages if your employer were grossly negligent or deliberately misclassified you in order to pay you less than is legally required.
Further, if you were fired after bringing up the discrepancy, you could receive wages and reinstatement. You may be able to pursue pain and suffering damages in such instances, as well.
You deserve the utmost compensation for your damages and losses, and you should not have a diminished bank account because your employer misclassified you.
How Our Firm Helps
The California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group is here for all employees who were mistreated by their companies. We have years of experience helping those who were misclassified or who were not given the wages they deserve. We are aggressive lawyers who will go through all channels to bring you what you deserve, and we will fight for your rights in court.
If you are in need of a free legal consultation, do not hesitate to call our firm. You can discuss your case with us and we will tell you how we plan to proceed. All consultations are completely confidential – none of your private details will be shared with anyone else. We can be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you have any questions, we will answer them.
Further, we will give you our zero fee guarantee on your case. This promises that you won’t have to pay any money for the costs of the lawsuit. We will only get paid if we win, and money will come from the settlement we win from your employer. If we lose, we get paid nothing at all.
If you were a victim of misclassification at your job, do not wait to reach out to a Los Angeles employee misclassification attorney at the California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group.