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What are Exempt and Nonexempt Employees?

There are two types of employees: exempt employees and non-exempt employees. Each carry their own specific exceptions and limitations, and if you are an employee at a company of any size, it is important to know in which category your job falls. While employment law attorneys can help employees navigate the complexities of each, when an employee is hired, they should be made aware of their status.

So what are exempt and nonexempt employees?

Exempt employees are usually paid on a salary and are not eligible for overtime pay. A California worker is exempt from the overtime arrangements set forth by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) because he or she is classified as an executive, business professional, administrator or outside sales employee, and meets certain, specific criteria for their exemption. Though there are limited exceptions, many exempt employees must be paid on a salary basis. More info can be found HERE and for even more information on the complexities of the exempt employee status, you can always call the employment law attorneys for a FREE consultation if you feel you have been misclassified by your boss.

Are you an hourly worker? Nonexempt employees are typically paid on an hourly basis and are entitled to rest breaks, meal breaks, and overtime pay. An individual who is not exempt from the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor and Standards act is entitled to overtime pay for all hours worked beyond the typical 40 hour workweek (in addition to any state overtime requirements). Nonexempt employees are more flexible in how they can receive wages, including payments made on a salary, hourly or other basis arranged by the worker and their employer. Have you not received your proper overtime pay? Perhaps your employer could be misclassifying you in an effort to preserve funds (which can also be known as wage theft). Ask to see your employee record and contact Lawyers for Justice, PC to speak, for free, to an employment law attorney to decide your options.

Here’s how employers and employees can run into trouble:

Many times, employers misclassify non-exempt employees as exempt employees so they can avoid paying them overtime and keep them from participating in other California labor law requirements, like taking specific meal and rest breaks. This behooves employers because they can:

  • Save money on wages paid out to their employees.
  • Prohibit nonexempt employees from taking necessary meal and rest breaks that could slow down their work productivity.


Misclassification of employees is illegal and employers can be sued – by a strategic employment law attorney who represents a misclassified worker – for practicing it. Do you know your employment status? Are you eligible for overtime pay, and if so, are you classified to collect that pay in your employee record?

If you have been misclassified, you may be eligible for compensation. A powerful employment law attorney like the ones at Lawyers for Justice can help. The firm has recovered millions of dollars for clients over the past decade.

Call 818-647-9323 today or visit us online at so an attorney at Lawyers for Justice can fight for you.

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