Must Employers Pay Overtime for Salaried Employees?

13 Dec 2016

Depending on who you ask during your next trip to the water cooler about whether employers must pay overtime for salaried employees you may get a different answer. This is because of the complexities surrounding overtime pay law, and the difficulty most people have in understanding overtime exemptions. One thing is for sure, the generally accepted belief, spread through generations of office gossip that salaried employees are all exempt from overtime is false. Indeed, many salaried workers are routinely misclassified by their employers as exempt leading to penalties and judgments against the employer, and or high dollar settlements.

Zillow, an online real estate database company located in Irvine recently announced that it had agreed to pay $6 million to settle a class action lawsuit filed by one of its employees alleging that the company failed to pay overtime. The complaint alleged that Zillow implemented “an automated timekeeping system programmed to auto-populate its employee’s hours worked to begin at 8:00 a.m. and end at 4:00 p.m. regardless of employees [sic] overtime hours worked[…]”

California Overtime for Salaried Employees

In California, salaried workers must be paid overtime unless they make a certain amount of money and also fall within narrowly classified groups that are considered exempt. To be considered exempt, the employee must have a monthly salary of at least $3,640, or $43,680 a year and be employed in an administrative, professional, or executive capacity. If you make less than $43,680 a year you most likely are entitled to overtime pay. If you make $43,680 or more and fall within one of these exempt categories of workers, then you are not entitled to overtime no matter how many hours you worked. Determining whether or not you actually fall within one of these exempt categories can be tricky. Often times employers provide employees titles that have little to do with the actual work they perform, and in such cases, you may still be entitled to overtime.