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Employee Misclassification in California: How It Happens & How to Stop It

Employee Misclassification in California: How It Happens & How to Stop It

California has fairly solid employment laws to protect workers and employees from unjust treatments. However, the law does not stop some dishonest employers from trying to find a way to mistreat workers to save a buck. In particular, some may try to misclassify their employees to short them on wages and benefits.

There are two main ways an employer can misclassify an employee to the company’s financial benefit:

  • Flat rates: An employer can misclassify an employee to take them off hourly wages and put them onto a flat salary, either based on a daily or weekly flat rate.
  • Lessened or no benefits: An employer may misclassify an employee as an independent contractor, which will strip away many employment benefits, like workers’ compensation.

Are You Classified as Exempt or Nonexempt?

California labor laws require you to be sorted into an employment classification based on the role and extent of your employment. You can be an exempt employee or a nonexempt employee. In summation, an exempt employee is not covered by most wage and hour laws. Generally, an exempt employee is not paid based on an hourly rate, cannot earn overtime for long days or weeks worked, and does not get guaranteed non-lunch break periods.

Are you exempt? Here are three exempt employment requirements:

  1. Exempt employees must be paid a salary that is valued at least twice California’s minimum wage rate for a full-time employee.
  2. Exempt employees must have some sort of administrative, executive, or professional task.
  3. Exempt employees must be given the freedom to use their own judgement for creating, working, and finishing tasks.

If you do not meet the requirements for any of the three requirements above, then you should be considered nonexempt. When your employer is calling you exempt despite you technically being nonexempt, you have been misclassified, and that is a serious employment law problem.

Are You an Independent Contractor or Not?

An independent contractor is someone who performs work of some sort for another company, based on a contractual basis, not an employment contract that guarantees wages exchanged for labor. Independent contractors are also allowed to go about the completion of tasks entirely based on their own discretion. The party that contracts them is only allowed to demand a certain level of quality for the end result of the work completed. In exchange for this level of “freedom” in their employment, independent contractors are not given many work-related benefits. For example, most independent contractors must provide for their own medical insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, retirement plans, Social Security contributions, and so forth.

Misclassifying a worker as an independent contractor is a favorite underhanded tactic among dishonest employers, who stand to save on the cost of regular wages and employment benefits. As general rule, you should not be an independent contractor if you are expected to show up to work at a certain time, wear a uniform, and complete job-related duties following specific instructions from the employer.

Glendale Employment Misclassification Attorneys – (818) 934-4172

At Manukyan Law Firm, we are staunch defenders of the working people. If your employer has misclassified you and you are losing out on wages and benefits because of it, then you should get into contact with our employment law attorneys right away. Committed fully to winning your case, we do not accept fees until we resolve it beneficially for you. Our team also speaks Armenian, Spanish, and Russian fluently for client convenience. Call us at (818) 934-4172 today.

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