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What Is Salary Misclassification in California?

Updated: Nov 22

How And Why Worker Misclassification Cases Happen In California

Employee classification directly affects your benefits, pay, taxes, salary, and rights. Some shady employers will purposely classify employees as exempt to skimp on overtime pay and other wage and hour rights. This is considered an act of fraud.


If an employer purposely misclassifies an employee, the employee will have enough grounds to sue for unpaid wages in California law. Basically, all the unpaid overtime you've been deprived of can be reimbursed.


So, let's talk about worker misclassification cases and how they are assessed and handled by an unpaid wages lawyer in Los Angeles.


unpaid wages california law

Why Would Employers Do This?


Employers are subject to taxes, and misclassification is one way of avoiding or reducing them. Sometimes, employers will misclassify employees to avoid paying for overtime and other benefits.


To be fair, some employers can make mistakes. However, that mistake can affect an employee's rights, so you can still file worker misclassification cases even if it'd been an honest mistake.


Regardless of the intention, misclassification is an act of fraud in the eyes of California employment law. So, contact an employment attorney in Los Angeles ASAP to get the compensation and back pay you deserve.

Employee Classification


As said, how you're classified matters. You can be misclassified in different ways: employers could deliberately misclassify you as an independent contractor instead of an employee, or they can misclassify non-exempt employees as exempt. Either way, misclassification can affect your pay and rights.


Here are a few California employee classifications and how they are distinguished from each other:


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Exempt Employees


Exempt employees are not subject to overtime compensation or the minimum wage. To be excluded from minimum wage and overtime compensation, an employee must generally meet the following criteria:

  • An employee must be paid a fixed pay for certain exemptions. That means their payment will not be affected by the quality or amount of their job.

  • The FLSA regulations have a job duties test linked with each exemption category. Therefore, the job obligations exams contain many unique components for each white-collar exemption.

  • An exempt employee's pay must fulfill the FLSA's minimum wage requirement with a few exceptions. Several states have salary thresholds greater than the FLSA, so be sure you're following the rules in the areas where you have employees.

Misclassification of exempt employees in California benefits the employer and disadvantages the employee. Since exempt employees aren't entitled to overtime, you might have to work long hours without getting paid. When this happens, contact your unpaid wages lawyer in Los Angeles ASAP.

Non-Exempt Employees

Non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime pay and must be paid at least the minimum wage for all hours worked. Unless an exemption applies, employees are generally deemed non-exempt.


Non-exempt employees are paid on an hourly basis. Still, employers can pay them a salary and pay applicable overtime. When a non-exempt worker works more than 40 hours in a week, federal law requires that overtime be paid at 1.5 times the ordinary pay rate.


Independent Contractors

An independent contractor provides services to the principal or a third party on the client's behalf. They are compensated on a contract basis. Because the independent contractor is not subject to the client's control or influence, he is free to use his discretion in executing the assignment. Furthermore, the independent contractor is liable for the project's outcome.

An employee is a person recruited by an employer to work regularly in exchange for a defined salary. An independent contractor is considered self-employed and delivers services to another company or person for a set fee. A salary or wages is an employee's remuneration. On the other hand, the independent contractor is paid for each project.


california exempt employee

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