What Does 'Exempt' Mean? What Does 'Non-Exempt' Mean?

If you have been classified as an exempt employee but you spend more than 50 percent of your time performing production work, you — and others who perform your job description — may be entitled to compensation for unpaid overtime and other benefits you lost because you were misclassified.

At Rosen Marsili Rapp LLP, we are a Los Angeles employee rights law firm that represents employees in litigation to protect their employment rights. We handle both individual wage and hour disputes and class action wage and hour litigation. We have successfully represented thousands of workers just like you in cases involving complicated issues just like these.

Misclassification As An Exempt Employee

Employees can be classified as either exempt or non-exempt for purposes of California and federal wage and hour laws. Exempt employees are exempt from the protections and rights afforded by certain wage and hour legislation, whereas non-exempt employees must receive these protections.

In California, you are legally considered a non-exempt employee if you perform non-exempt work for your company more than 50 percent of your time, regardless of the title your company gives you. Exempt employees are commonly paid an annual salary, whereas non-exempt employees are commonly paid an hourly rate. For example:

  • If you are in the kitchen flipping burgers and filling drinks more than 50 percent of the time, you are considered non-exempt even if your job title is "manager" or you are paid based on a salary rather than an hourly rate. As a non-exempt employee, you should be getting overtime pay and regular meal and rest breaks.

Rosen Marsili Rapp LLP — Protecting Employee Rights Since 1985

We are proud to have built a strong reputation as ethical and strategic attorneys who strive to right the wrongs committed by California employers. Many of our clients come to us as referrals from other Los Angeles lawyers or from past clients.

If you have questions about your classification as an exempt employee, call 213-389-6050 or contact us online to schedule a private consultation with one of our experienced employment law attorneys.