How An Employer May Try To Avoid Paying Employees Overtime
Employees work hard and spend many hours away from their loved ones at the service of an employer. Even if the employee enjoys the work, they deserve appropriate compensation for their time. Often, an employer will use different tactics to avoid paying an employee overtime wages.
Eligibility and Rate of Overtime Pay in California
In California, any nonexempt employee who works more than eight consecutive hours in a day or more than 40 hours in one work week is entitled to overtime pay. An employee is classified as non-exempt based on the nature of the work, the employee’s duties and responsibilities, and level of compensation.
These employees are entitled to 1.5 times the regular rate of pay for hours worked after the typical 8-hour workday up to 12 hours. After 12 consecutive hours of work in a day, the employee should receive twice his regular pay for all further hours. These rates apply to both authorized and non-authorized overtime.
Employers Tricks to Avoid Overtime Payment
Overtime payments can become costly to an employer, and employers have been known to attempt to avoid these payments in a number of ways. This behavior is illegal. Common examples include:
- Misclassification. Often, an employer will title an employee as an independent contractor, which makes the employee ineligible for overtime pay. An employee is not an independent contractor if the company controls the time and manner of work, the employee is not allowed to work for other companies, the employee cannot hire his own assistants or employees, and the employee must adhere to company rules and hours.
- Claim salaried workers do not qualify. It is commonly believed that if an employee earns a salary, he is an exempt employee and does not qualify for overtime pay. However, this is not true. A salaried employee must meet the requirements for exempt status as defined by the state. Also, the worker’s salary must be more than a set amount per week. There are exceptions for workers in certain industries, such as personal attendants, actors, some broadcast news workers, irrigators, and those covered by a collective bargaining agreement.
- Combine exempt and non–exempt duties. In some cases, an employer will require an exempt employee to perform duties that would fall under non-exempt positions. The employee has a right to be paid overtime rates for any overtime related to the non-exempt duties.
- Assign tasks outside work hours. If an employer expects an employee to work from home or complete a work-related duty outside the normal workday, the employee has a right to be compensated for those hours.
If you believe your employer is attempting to deprive you of overtime pay you deserve, the Law Offices of Corbett H. Williams may be able to help. Fill out an online contact form for a prompt response from an experienced attorney.