top of page

What Is Salary Misclassification in California?

Updated: Nov 22, 2022

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:

los angeles employment attorney

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 is a California Bar Association Certified Lawyer Referral Service that refers you to a California Employment Attorney. You may contact us through our 24/7 live chat (or complete our case details submission form) for a free initial consultation.


Best Lawyers Near Los Angeles

California State Bar Certified Lawyer Referral And Information Service

Welcome to, a Lawyer Referral and Information Service certified and approved by the California State Bar.

"Our commitment is to provide you with unbiased and impartial lawyer referrals."


Unlike other services, we maintain complete independence from the lawyers receiving these referrals, ensuring transparency and fairness.

While we specialize in California employment law and personal injury claims, we offer our referral services for various other legal areas.


At, we aim to ensure you are connected with best California attorney near you who can provide comprehensive and exceptional representation for your specific legal needs.


We understand that every legal situation is unique and are dedicated to finding the best match for you.


With our extensive network of attorneys, we strive to deliver outstanding legal support and guidance tailored to your individual requirements.

At, we hold California attorneys to the highest standards of professional conduct.


Your satisfaction and confidence in the legal representation you receive are paramount to us.


Rest assured that when you engage in our services, you can expect nothing less than exceptional legal support and guidance.

Why Lawyer Referrals Matter


The California State Bar investigates on average 16,000 complaints of professional misconduct by attorneys annually.

We conduct due diligence by researching and recommending the best local attorney for your case. 


Our team of experts verifies that attorneys are in good standing and have the required experience in the type of law related to your legal issue. 

Learn more about attorney discipline here.


Our History 


Since 2005, we have been dedicated to helping individuals find reliable legal representation in California.


We understand the challenges people face when trying to locate reputable lawyers, especially when inundated with self-promoting advertisements and biased marketing from law firms.


At our service, we strive to cut through the noise and provide a trustworthy and unbiased platform for connecting individuals with reputable California lawyers.


Our clients receive quality legal representation without the frustration and uncertainty often associated with legal advertising.

How the LRS Works 

Anyone seeking competent and honest legal representation in California, can request a FREE lawyer referral. 

Once you submit your case details online, our legal 24-hour legal department will review your claim and reply via email. Most cases are reviewed and answered within 15 minutes. 


A free 30 minute consultation with the attorney will be offered to each referred client. 

A representative will follow up a few days later via email with the client after receiving a referral for quality management purposes, or to obtain the status of the case. 

About lawyers from our network

California lawyers in our network are insured, in good standing with the California State Bar, and have substantial experience in their practice area.


Attorneys are available in most areas of law throughout Southern California. Every lawyer in or network has been vetted for:

  • Credentials

  • Education

  • Communication skills

  • Performance

  • Client reviews

  • Fair legal fees

  • Continuing education

  • Professional affiliations

Additionally, we conduct criminal  background checks and attorneys are always monitored by our service.  

How to find the best lawyer for your legal case: 

1. The fastest way to have your legal issue reviewed by one of our attorneys is to send your details online.


Your information will go directly to our 24 hour legal department bypassing our call center. You will get a reply via email within 15 minutes. 

2. You may also inquire about your legal issue via email. We respond to email inquiries within 24 hours M-F. 

3. By calling our lawyer referral hotline 661-310-7999. However, our agents are not attorneys and cannot provide legal advice. Due to high call volumes, it's highly recommended that you use option # 1 above. 


Simple Retro Handyman Service Badge Logo-2.png
bottom of page