If you suspect that you are not paid fairly, you have the right to seek help and take action to protect yourself and your financial interests. However, you would be wise to first understand if you are an exempt employee or non-exempt employee, and what your status means for your rights per the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Your status as exempt or non-exempt determines if you should get paid minimum wage and overtime. If you believe that your employer misclassified you, you would be wise to work with a lawyer familiar with your rights as a California employee. Even if you are unsure of your status, you always have the right to know your options.
The different types of employees
There are two different categories of employees, exempt and non-exempt. These categories determine if a worker has enforceable rights regarding certain aspects of his or her pay under the FLSA and other laws. The differences between these two different types of workers include:
- Exempt employees: An exempt employee does not have the protection of the FLSA. This means that he or she does not have a rightful claim to overtime pay. In order to fall into the category of an exempt employee, a person must make at least $23, 600 per year, earn a yearly salary and perform certain exempt job duties.
- Non-exempt employees: Non-exempt employees must make at least minimum wage and should receive overtime for hours worked beyond the standard 40 per week. Overtime pay is time and a half per hour, and misclassification could be grounds for a FLSA claim.
Protecting yourself begins with a full understanding of your rights as either an exempt or a non-exempt employee. Any violation of your rights is grounds for legal action against your employer or other appropriate party.
The complexities of wage and hour disputes
Fighting for rightful pay and correct status as either an exempt or a non-exempt employee can be complicated. You have the right to wages you earned and the right to seek legal help for any violation of your rights as a worker. Whether you are certain you do not have the correct classification or you simply want to know more about your rights, you may seek a complete case evaluation with an experienced attorney.
Reaching out for experienced legal help can be the first step in securing your rightful pay and protecting your interests as a California employee.