Employee Wins Overtime Claim with Labor Board

The employee for Channel Islands Logistics, Inc. in Ventura, was hired as an accountant and worked for the Company and its affiliates for approximately 2 1/2 years.  When hired, he was told that he was an exempt employee (i.e., exempt from being paid overtime) because he was a salaried employee.  The manner in which an employee is paid is not determiniative of being paid overtime and it is only one of the factors to be considered.

After his termination, he made a claim with the company for overtime, but the company denied the claim.  He then filed a claim with the California Labor Commissioner and the matter went to a full hearing with the assistance of Mr. Leonardo.  He claimed that he was entitled to overtime wages of $41,424.  He also sued for $589 in unpaid vacation wages.  The company agreed at the hearing that the employee was entitled to the vacation wages and subsequently paid them.

The Company bears the burden of establishing the employee is "exempt."  The Company must satisfy three tests:  (1) the "salary basis test" - the employee must be paid a fixed and certain amount.  Here the Company did that by paying the employee a fixed amount (his "salary") each week; (2) the "salary amount test" - salary paid must be 2.5 times the state minimum wage for full time employment.  Here, the Company did pay the employee over that amount; and (3) the "duties test"- whether the employee is primarily engaged in performing exempt duties.  Here, it was determined by the Labor Commissioner that the employee was primarily engaged in (i.e., more than 50% of his work) non-exempt duties.  He did not manage any employees, was directly supervised, did not make company policies and did not use his own judgment in performing his work.  As a consequence, the employee was found to be non-exempt and entitled to the overtime claimed of $41,424.

The employee was also awarded liquidated damages for not receiving at least minimum wages for all hours worked.  He was therefore awarded 655.52 hours x $8.00/hour = $5,244.

The employee was also awarded a waiting time penalty equal to 30 days wages totaling $10,200, and interest of $5,356.75, all totaling $62,903.06.

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