California exempt employee?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

California exempt employee?

I was told by my new employer that I was classed as an exempt employee. This was a surprise to me as all our pay negotiations were based on an hourly rate. In addition to this I am seconded out to a client on a permanent basis. Technically I’ve never actually met my boss. I am required to be at work from 6:00 am to 4:30 pm for a 10 hour day they deduct 0.5 for an unpaid lunch break and if you are even 1 minute late they deduct 0.25 hours. They do pay overtime but only at the straight rate of pay. Is it OK for them to set it up this way? I thought being an exempt employee meant they couldn’t expect a set amount of hours from you?

Asked on May 7, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

While there are several critieria to be exempt, the first is that you must be salaried: if not salaried, you are not exempt. To be salaried means that you are paid the same amount every pay period, regardless of how many hours you work, and there is no deduction for being late to work. So if they deduct for lateness or missed time, you are not salaried--you are hourly, and therefore you are not exempt.
This in turn means:
1) They have to pay you for ALL time worked and may not legally deduct 0.25 hours for being 1 minute late (all they could deduct was the 1 minute).
2) When you work more than 40 hours in a work week, all time past 40 hours is paid at the overtime or time-and-a-half rate.
You are being underpaid and illegally paid. Contact the state department of labor to file a complaint.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption