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Do California Wage and Hour Laws Apply to Managers?

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Managers might be exempted from wage and hour laws under specific circumstances. That means they are not entitled to rest and meal breaks, minimum wage, and overtime pay like other types of employees.

However, managers must meet the requirements for employers to exempt them from wage and hour laws. If a manager doesn’t meet the requirements, they are nonexempt, and the employer must classify them correctly.

What Is an Executive Employee Exemption?

An executive employee exemption makes some employees ineligible for some benefits. An exemption applies to some employees who are executives under state law and, therefore, are not entitled to the same rights as other employees, such as:

  • Additional compensation for working overtime
  • Minimum wage
  • Meal and rest breaks

Requirements of an Exempt Executive

An employee is considered an exempt executive if they perform specific job duties and meet a particular salary basis or earn a specific salary.

State law requires employees to pass the two tests below to be exempt from wage and hour laws.

Salary Test

An executive earns a salary instead of hourly pay. An employee passes the salary test for exemption under the wage and hour law if their salary:

  • Is for a predetermined amount
  • Isn’t based on a set amount of work time or number of hours worked
  • Has a particular guarantee or minimum level

Employees also pass the salary test if their monthly salary is at least twice the state-required minimum wage for a full-time worker. An employee is considered full-time if they work forty hours every work week.

Job Duties Test

The job duties test establishes whether the work an employee performs and the primary responsibilities of their employment qualify them as an executive. The test doesn’t consider job descriptions or job titles as a basis for determining whether an employee is exempt from wage and hour laws.

Instead, the test looks at the duties an employee primarily engages in and considers them an executive if they spend most of their time:

  • Exercising authority over hiring and firing employees or recommending who to hire, fire, or promote;
  • Managing one of the company’s departments, business, or business operations;
  • Regularly using independent judgment and discretion to perform their job; and
  • Regularly directing at least two employees’ work.

The term “primarily engaged in” means an executive spends more than half of their work performing the required duties.

Compensation for Employee Misclassification

If your employer misclassified you as an executive to exempt you from wage and hour laws, filing a lawsuit might be the most appropriate method for addressing the situation. You can pursue legal action for your:

  • Court costs
  • Unpaid overtime
  • Minimum wage violations
  • Missed rest and meal breaks
  • Legal fees
  • Interest on unpaid wage and overtime

Can My Employer Fire Me for Filing a Wage and Hour Claim?

Your employer might fire you, but it’s illegal. State and federal laws prohibit employers from retaliating against their employees for participating in legally protected activities. You are within your rights to file a wage and hour claim if your employer unlawfully withheld pay or misclassified you as an exempt executive.

Retaliation can include more than terminating employment. It can also involve actions such as:

  • Demoting to a lower position
  • Reducing wage or salary
  • Transferring to a less desirable department or position in the company
  • Refusing to provide training
  • Withholding benefits and other job perks

Speak to a Dedicated Employee Rights Attorney Now

At Wagner Zemming Christensen, LLP, we fight for the rights of employees in Riverside, CA. When you hire us, your experienced and skilled employment lawyer will determine your available options and pursue a case against your employer for their misconduct.

If your employer violated California wage and hour laws, call us at 951-686-4800 or contact us online for a consultation today. You might be entitled to compensation for unpaid wages, attorneys’ fees, and other expenses.

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