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Under California law, an employer must pay an employee overtime if the employee works more than 40 hours per week or 8 hours per day, unless the employee qualifies as “exempt.” The employer has the burden of proving that an employee is exempt from overtime.

Many employers violate the law by treating employees as exempt when they are not. For example, a retail employer might claim that a store manager is exempt and refuse to pay the manager overtime even though the manager works 50-60 hours per week. However, if the manager spends 50% or more of his or her time doing the same type of work as hourly employees (helping customers, making sales, stocking shelves, cashiering, etc.), the manager is not exempt. The manager may have a substantial claim for unpaid overtime.

The following positions are often treated as exempt when they really are not:

  • Store managers, restaurant managers, and assistant managers

  • Loan officers, loan processors, and underwriters

  • Inside sales employees

  • Financial advisors and sales assistants

  • Software engineers

  • Claims adjusters

  • Trainees

Employees are allowed to recover up to 4 years of unpaid overtime, plus substantial penalties. Current and former employers may be held liable.

Over the last 30 years, Clapp & Lauinger LLP have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars in unpaid overtime for its clients. Please contact attorney Marita Lauinger at if you have any questions about unpaid overtime.


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