Mislead and Misclassified: How your employer might be mislabeling you

Trust is a two-way street. Your employer trusts you to complete the assigned tasks of your job and to show up during the allotted work times. You trust your boss to document your hours and wages and pay you on a scheduled time. But what if that trust is not a two way street? What if you are holding up your end of the bargain, but your boss isn’t holding up theirs? Here are some things to look for to see if your two way street of trust has become a one way street. 

Do your job responsibilities match your co-workers, but your work classifications are different? 

Let’s go back to school. You are in the fourth grade and you and another student in class were chosen to be the teacher’s helper at the beginning of the week. This is especially exciting because at the end of the week, you receive jolly ranchers as payment. You and the other student perform the same tasks, get to school at the same time, and equally assist the teacher when needed. The anticipated end of the week comes. The teacher gives you your 1 jolly rancher and you are on top of the world! Until, you see, the other student got 4 jolly ranchers.You both had the same job duties, but one person was paid more than the other.  

This is what happens when you are misclassified as an employee. You and another person do the same tasks, work the same hours, and get paid totally different amounts. Simply because you are labeled day rate workers or contract workers, and they are labeled hourly workers. No matter how hard you work, or how early you show up, your compensation will always be less. Here are some things to look for to see if misclassification is happening to you: 

  • You perform the same job responsibilities as co-workers who have a different job title than you. 
  • You work the same hours as your co-workers who have a different job title than you. 
  • You are a day rate employee, but work more hours than in your job agreement. 
  • You are a contract employee, but complete tasks that are outside of your contract work.

Day rate and contract employees are often misclassified and should be hourly workers. This would entitle them to receive higher over time compensation. If your job tasks are the same as your co-worker, but your regular rate of pay is different you have probably experienced employee misclassification. 

Have you been asked to change your job title, but your job requirements have not changed?

Let’s go back to the school example. You have once again been selected to be the teachers helper, and you are a fabulous teacher’s helper for a couple of days. But out of nowhere your teacher calls you to her desk and tells you that she is switching you to the classroom cleaner instead, but your job tasks will not change. The only change is you will only earn 1/2 of a jolly rancher, instead of the full jolly rancher you were previously receiving.  

This same situation plays out continuously when hourly workers are asked by their employer to change their job, or employee classification, to an independent contractor or day rate worker. They are essentially asking them to work the same job, with a different title and less pay. Employers will do this to try and eliminate the amount of overtime they are paying employees. If you were hired as an hourly employee and are asked to change your job title/role to day rate or contract, you have been misclassified. 

Are you labeled as an exempt employee and work more than 40 hours per week?

One last trip back to school. Each job in your classroom is in one of two categories. Weekly or Monthly helpers. Weekly helpers all work for one week at a time, and are paid two jolly ranchers at the end of the week. If they want, they can come an hour early to school each day to help and receive a total of 10 extra jolly ranchers on top of the 2 they are already guaranteed to work overtime. Monthly workers work for one month at a time, and are paid 4 jolly ranchers at the end of the month. Monthly workers are required to come in one hour early each morning. There is no extra payment for the early morning hours because they are paid more than the hourly workers, with 4 jolly ranchers at the end of the month. Makes sense right? No, it absolutely does not! Any student, or adult, would much rather have the option to be a weekly helper and be able to earn more jolly ranchers. 

We can apply the same idea to exempt and nonexempt employees (back link to exempt vs. non-exempt blog). It is common for employees to be labeled exempt and work more than 40 hours a week with no extra compensation. Most of the time, anything over 40 hours a week is overtime. The truth is that an employee must fit into very specific qualifications to be considered an exempt employee. Many salaried employees are misclassified as exempt. Non-exempt employees qualify for overtime when they work more than 40 hours per week. So this misclassification costs exempt employees way more than a handful of jolly ranchers. 

If trust has become a one way street with your employer, and you feel you have been misclassified, the attorneys at Josephson and Dunlap are here to gain your trust. We will start by helping you start a case to reclaim all of your unpaid wages. It’s easier than you think, we promise!  We will hold up our end of the bargain and fight on behalf of you. Let’s get you classified and compensated correctly! Click to schedule your free consultation today.



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