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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We can tackle some of the most complex matters in the litigation world.


Year after year, our team delivers unmatched results for our clients.

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).

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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…

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 Talks about Andy Dragovic

My wife had an accident, tripping over a cable line that wasn’t buried. Andy represented us and were very pleased with the outcome. Andy was very professional, personable, and quick to respond to us, answering any of our questions or concerns. The whole firm was responsive to our concerns, and…

Praise for Dina Zalewski

The lawyers at Sommers Schwartz, P.C. were nothing short of amazing when I came to them with my medical malpractice case! Dina truly helped to put my mind at ease and because of her and her firm, I finally have closure and can begin my healing process! I just want…

Gratitude for Rob Sickels

When our world was shattered by an unexpected medical diagnosis, we were referred to Rob Sickels of Sommers Schwartz. What a blessing to get this referral as Rob listened to us with caring and compassion, spent all the time necessary to help us, was always honest with us about our…

A Grateful Client Talks About Dina Zalewski

Dina never lied to us and was very straightforward. I feel like she took me under her wing. She got me through something that I thought was going to be incredibly difficult for me to relive. Dina felt like a friend, somebody I could trust and look to for guidance….

About Dina Zaleski, Rick Groffsky, and Andy Dragovic

Dina, Rick, and Andy were amazing lawyers. They helped me through an incredibly difficult time in my life after losing my son. I wanted answers on why, and they helped me through the whole process and they got me answers. After I lost my son, I was severely depressed. Every…

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