Sommers Schwartz is a powerhouse litigation firm that has recovered more than one billion dollars for our clients. When your future is on the line, our team will fight for you.

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Am I An “Exempt” Employee Under California Law?

Many of California’s labor laws (such as overtime rules) may not apply to certain “exempt” employees. Exempt employees normally engage in one of three categories of work: administrative, executive, or professional.

  • Administrative Exemption: Applies to those employees whose duties and responsibilities involve management policies or general business operations or the administration of a school or educational institution or department thereof and regularly exercises discretion and independent judgment.
  • Executive Exemption: Applies to those employees whose duties and responsibilities involve management of a business or a portion of a business, directs the work of other employees, who has authority or has the ability to make recommendations as to the promotion, hiring, or firing of other employees, and customarily and regularly exercises discretion and independent judgment.
  • Professional Exemption: Generally applies to lawyers, doctors, architects, engineers, accountants, teachers, artists, or other professions that requires advanced training and knowledge within a particular field or a requisite level of creativity. Again, such employees must customarily and regularly exercise discretion and independent judgment.

Exempt employees must earn at least two times the state minimum wage for full-time employment. There is a number of industry specific exemptions to California’s labor laws and regulations.

  • Salesperson: The exemption for employees who are paid primarily in sale commissions, is relatively straightforward. A salesperson is exempt and not entitled to overtime pay if more than half of her pay is in commissions, so long as her hourly earnings are more than 1.5 times the minimum wage. See Cal. Code Regs., tit. 8, § 11040, subd. 3(D).

To read more about exempt employees, please see Labor Code, Section 515 (click here) or review the applicable Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Order for additional information (click here).

A Trusted Authority

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A Client’s Gratitude

Thank you, Andy Dragovic and Annette DeCoste, for your professionalism and dedication to me and my malpractice claim. Andy’s confident and caring personality assured me that I chose the right firm to help me fight and get through one of the most difficult times of my life.

A Client With a Wrongful Death Case

My family and I would like to thank Matt Turner, Mickey McCullough, Janice Koehler, and your entire law firm for your dedication to my wife’s wrongful death case. We realize that we had the best law firm to successfully help us. We appreciate the obviously hard work and the efforts…

Praise for Albert Asciutto

Shout out to Albert Asciutto for being a fantastic attorney & walking me through the entire process of fighting for my wages! He made the process quick and easy. In the end we won the case!! Thank you again for taking my case on, you are awesome! I would absolutely…

Praise for Jesse Young and Alana Karbal

Alana Karbal and Jesse Young did an excellent job fighting a giant for my wages. They pushed me to get what they needed from me and were amazing at communicating with me at all times. I won my arbitration and was so excited when I got more than what I…

Praise for Wage & Overtime Pay Attorney Jesse Young

Jesse Young worked an employment case for me that ended with almost 700 people getting their unpaid wages back. He and his team are incredible. From the first communication to the last, they never missed a single beat – consistent and clear communication, quickly replying to my communication, and always making…

A Client’s Gratitude for Tad Roumayah

Tad, I want to express my sincere gratitude for your unrelenting advocacy on my behalf throughout this process. It’s a shame that this sort of thing is still happening to new moms in 2023 and at an institution that prides itself on diversity, equity, and inclusion, no less. Knowing there…

Comments about Matthew Curtis from an Appreciative Client

Your efforts have changed my life, Matt. I’m forever grateful. My wife has tons of upcoming medical expenses, and we had both been working hard to make ends meet. I can’t thank you and your staff enough.

Praise for Lisa Esser-Weidenfeller and Matthew Curtis

I am writing to express my sincere gratitude for your hard work and dedication in handling my case. I appreciate your professionalism, your compassion, and your perseverance throughout this challenging process. You have gone above and beyond to protect my rights, to defend my interests, and to secure a favorable…

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