There is a misconception that if a person is getting paid a salary that they are exempt from overtime. That is completely not the case. The only thing that a person being paid a salary means is that they’re paid a fixed amount per year (subject to exceptions). Just because a person is being paid a salary, this doesn’t mean that their boss can force them to work nights and weekends. That’s what happens a lot of time with California employers, is that they treat their employees into thinking that there are exempt from overtime pay, and have them respond to emails, client calls, and do additional work during hours that they’re not in the office.
Many potential clients call me and I asked them whether they worked overtime. They often simply respond, “no, I was paid salary.” It’s unfortunate that they think they’re exempt, but how many people will go on with their lives uninformed and walk away from a lot of money that they’re owed? One way that we calculate a persons hourly wage from their salary is that they can divide up the number of hours that they worked by the salary, and use that number to figure out what their overtime wages are. This is how we can assess and part what a persons case is worth.
Don’t be fooled by the hype that if you’re paid a salary, then that automatically means that you’re not entitled to overtime. That is blatantly false. Even if you sign an agreement, and that agreement says that you are not owed overtime or that you are exempt from overtime, that also doesn’t necessarily mean that you are automatically exempt. For example, a cook in a restaurant could sign an agreement saying that they are “executive cook and they are agreeing to be “exempt from overtime pay.” Let’s say the cook works 12 hours a day, six days a week, at $12 an hour. Are they going to be exempt from overtime? Probably not. Or let’s say the cook is paid a salary of $30,000 a year, and signed the same agreement with the same executive title. Still, they probably would not be exempt from overtime. Unfortunately, these types of occurrences happen in the state of California very often.
If you or someone you know believes they’re being paid unfairly by their employer, call The Woodland Hills employment lawyers at Kahn Roven for a free consultation at 818-888-9171.