Exempt Employee Classification

Exempt vs. non-exempt employees

Federal law requires that certain employees (non-exempt employees) be paid overtime wages and other benefits, while others are “exempt” from these requirements because of their specific job duties.

Unfortunately, employees are sometimes misclassified as exempt, which keeps them from receiving overtime pay and other benefits that they may be owed if correctly classified. Whether employers intentionally or mistakenly misclassify employees, those workers may be entitled to back-wages and other benefits under the law.

Below we discuss the 5 exemptions under federal law that disqualify employees from receiving certain worker protections.

Misclassified as exempt?

We can help you figure it out. Workers who are misclassified as exempt may be owed hundreds of hours in overtime pay and other benefits. Contact us today for a free case evaluation. No obligations.


Exempt Employees - Federal vs. State Exemptions

Federal and state employment law often differ as to which categories of employees may qualify as exempt.

  • Exempt employees under Federal Employment Law

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires that non-exempt employees in the U.S. be paid at least the federal minimum wage and overtime pay for all hours worked over 40 hours a week. However, some employees are exempt from these requirements and are classified as “exempt employees.”

To qualify as exempt, employees generally must meet certain exemptions and tests regarding their job duties and be paid a salary of at least $455 per week. Job titles do not determine exempt status.

  • Exempt Employees under State Employment Law

Some states, including California, have their own laws and requirements for employees to be considered exempt. California has fewer employee exemptions than under federal labor law.

Federal Employee Exemptions

The FLSA provides an exemption from both minimum wage and overtime pay for employees employed as bona fide executive, administrative, professional, information technology (IT), and outside sales employees. Certain computer employees are also considered exempt.

Learn more about these exemptions:

Eric Gibbs

Founding partner of Gibbs Law Group LLP, Eric Gibbs has been selected for the peer-reviewed list of Best Lawyers every year since 2012.

Steven Tindall

An employment-law litigator with over 20 years’ experience, Steven Tindall is well-acquainted with navigating the ins-and-outs of employee misclassification lawsuits. His largest recovery in a single employment case is $29 million.

Linda Lam

Prior to joining us at Gibbs Law Group LLP, Linda Lam worked at a national employment law firm, where she represented workers in lawsuits to recover unpaid wages and benefits.

Steve Lopez

Steve has prosecuted a variety of complex employment cases involving misclassification of independent contractors. He is fluent in English and Spanish.

Our Employment Law Practice

Gibbs Law Group LLP is consistently ranked on U.S. News’ list of “Best Law Firms.”

The attorneys in our employment law practice have all be selected as 2018 Northern California Super Lawyers or Risings Stars.

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Learn More about Employee Misclassification

If you're actually non-exempt, you may be entitled to a big payday

We provide free case evaluations to help you get answers about whether you’re misclassified, and if so, how much you’re owed. What you tell us is confidential and creates no further obligations.