Federal laws protect employees from wage exploitation. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, workers legally deserve a minimum wage and overtime pay. However, some employees qualify for exemptions from overtime pay.
Employers know this and may commit fraud in the form of overtime misclassification. If you suspect you deserve overtime pay, see below for some signs your employer owes you more wages.
Software development qualifications
If you work in the software field, you must earn $41 per hour to be exempt from overtime pay. In addition, your employer must prove your work engages you in a creative or highly intellectual manner and that you use independent judgment in your labor. A job title alone cannot prove you qualify for this exemption.
Unfair pay deductions
Exempt employees usually must receive their full salary every week. Employers can only deduct from your weekly wage if you:
- Miss one or more days without a valid reason
- Incurred a fine from a safety infraction
- Incurred a penalty for workplace misconduct
- Do not work a whole week on your first or last week of employment
Consult with an attorney if you suspect your employee makes unfair deductions from your salary. If you are exempt from overtime and your employer pays you less than your weekly salary, they owe you back pay.
California has complex overtime and exemption laws. It is challenging to dissect them on your own. If you work more than 40 hours per week, you may deserve back pay for overtime. Keep track of your work hours to ensure your employer does not take advantage of your labor.