Exempt vs Nonexempt employees – California Labor Code

Posted by Raoul Severo | Sep 27, 2020 | 0 Comments

In the state of California, employees are generally classified as either exempt or nonexempt. These classifications are intended to identify the designation of workloads, work hours, deserved break, and of course, salary. The two categories are designed to ensure that the employee gets the proper compensation for the works they are hired to perform.

Exempt Employees

According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), exempt employees are those workers who are exempted from some nuances that regular, non-exempt employees have due to the nature of their employment. These workers are not paid in hourly rates but rather by approved salary grades. They do not qualify for the minimum wage; they do not receive overtime pays, nor do they get the regular mandatory work breaks, except for meal breaks. Most of these professionals are usually those who are white-collar workers, the ones in the executive fields. They, however, are also eligible for bonuses and promotions.

Non-exempt Employees

Non-exempt employees are the workers who did not qualify for exemptions. Mostly, these are the blue-collar workers; the employees who are entitled to the federal minimum wage. They are eligible for overtime pays, which are usually one-and-a-half if not double their hourly rate if they work for more than the standard 40-hour workweek. The rights of these non-exempt employees are found in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).


It would be best to make sure that you are appropriately classified because being misclassified can lead to being subjected to an oppressive work environment. A miscategorized non-exempt employee can suffer the following under a harmful employer:

  • The employee is subjected to work for more than the required 8-hours a day or 40-hours a week without being compensated with the proper overtime pay.
  • The employee is not provided with any regular breaks rightfully entitled to any non-exempt employee.
  • The employee can be forced to be on the job during holidays.
  • The employee is not mandated to have regular rest breaks.
  • The employee does not have a track record for working hours.

There are obvious red flags that workers tend not to see when working under an oppressive system. These are some of the conditions that misclassified employees are subjected to:

  1. Hourly Rate - Non-exempt employees should be paid hourly based on the California Labor Codes standards. This means that if the worker served more than the required work hours, he/she should be compensated with overtime pay. However, if treated as an exempt employee, the worker cannot receive their rightful compensation.
  2. Minimum Salary - The minimum salary should be based on the hourly rate of the worker. However, oppressive employers usually manipulate the salary system to deduct the payment of the worker.
  3. Workloads - Misclassification can give an employer jobs that are outside their pay grades. This is a clear violation of the worker's rights. 


Legal Actions

Being wrongfully classified by your employer can be a huge bummer because of the unnecessary workloads you might shoulder. Workloads on which will be terribly under-compensated. That is why, to deal with such hassles, it would be the victim's best decision to hire professional legal aid. With the help of a credible lawyer, the victim might be able to file a successful lawsuit that asks for reasonable compensation to cover for the following:

  • Unpaid Overtime - overtimes accounted for as parts of the workload when, in reality, it is not.
  • Minimum Wage Violations - violations regarding unjust compensation for the mismatch of the workload and the victim's salary.
  • Missed Breaks - rest or meal breaks that are rightfully owed to the victim but were disregarded due to the misclassification.
  • Interest - the interest of the employer or employee.
  • Legal Fees - the charges and fees due spent on legal counseling to aid the victim's case
  • Court Costs - the necessary fee for using the court of law to resolve the issue.

Aside from compensation, the victim can also sue the employer's violations under California's labor codes with a wage and hour lawsuit. Due to the nuances involved in this legal problem, it would be the best interest of the parties involved to hire legal assistance from our credible pool of law attorneys. Besides informing the parties about their rights, our lawyers can also provide first-class services to settle any legal conflicts.

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