California man fights wrongful termination and misclassification

| Jun 18, 2015 | Wrongful Termination |

Los Angeles employees may be interested in the case of a man claiming that he was wrongfully terminated and misclassified as exempt from state wage and hour laws. Because of this misclassification, he was not given certain benefits that he was entitled to under the law.

The man worked as a district shop manager for a chain of fitness centers. He filed the wrongful termination suit against his former employer after they terminated him for allegedly discounting store items improperly. The man claimed that he was fired for questioning company policy and was misclassified as an exempt employee. Because of this misclassification, he was denied overtime pay and other benefits.

In California, there is a specific test to determine if someone is exempt from these wage laws due to their managerial role. This test looks at various aspects of the employee’s role, including whether they manage others and how much authority and independence they have in that role. When the company attempted to have the lawsuit dismissed, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California court found that there were questions as to how much independence the man had as a manager and whether he was actually managing at all. Due to the man’s overwhelming duties in non-managerial tasks and the small amount of discretion he had over procedures in his stores, the court has allowed the case to move forward.

In cases of exempt employees and wrongful termination, it is important to remember that the job title is not what determines exemption. Rather, it is the actual job functions that are being performed which dictate whether or not an employee is classified as exempt. In situations where an employee may have been wrongfully discharged, an attorney may be able to assist by filing a claim against the employer.


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