Overworked employees deserve better. We all agree on that, and these workers might not even be classified properly. A janitor, construction worker, or even a truck driver might feel like they have a solid job, but they have been classified as exempt or an independent contractor.
Think about it—A janitor gets hired to clean up after hours, but they are not a full employee for the building management company. Construction workers get pulled in to do the work, but they are not made full employees of the contractor. Truckers might have their own vehicles or agree to drive on any contract just to get paid.
When these overworked and underpaid employees are misclassified as a contractor or exempt employee, they miss out on overtime. Look at how a simple change in classification could change their lives.
Who is Most Often Misclassified?
- Janitors—If the median income for a janitor comes out to $17/hour, they can do much better if they are asked to work more on the weekend, work seven days in a row, or work more than eight hours a day as a full employee.
- Construction Workers—The median wage for construction workers is $25.50/hour. While this wage is competitive, construction workers might be asked to work a lot of overtime to get the job done without qualifying for overtime.
- Truckers—Truckers have the freedom to roam the roads of California and see all the beautiful sights that the state has to offer. However, long routes can take quite a long time to complete. Because entry level pay for a trucker barely comes in at $14/hour, these workers will benefit massively from the appropriate overtime pay structure.
How Much More Could These Workers Make?
Let’s say, for example, that these workers were classified properly. A janitor who is supposed to make $17/hour works:
- 50 hours in a week
- An extra six hours on Saturday, or
- Seven days in a row
That’s come out to:
- $935 for 50-hour weeks instead of $850 for the same time period
- $833 a week when working on Saturdays as opposed to $782 a week
- $1088 for working seven days in a row as opposed to $952 without overtime
What Should You do About Your Overtime Pay?
Overtime pay can be complicated because you have likely been misclassified by your employer as exempt or an independent contractor. You can see how much more money you could make every year with the appropriate overtime, and it is easy to see that an extra $4420 a year for your 50-hour weeks can change your life.
Complaining to your employer often will not solve the problem because they have made the decision to classify you and pay you a certain way. You do not want them to terminate you (even though retaliation is illegal.) It is better to look for help from a professional.
Contact an Employment Lawyer
Reach out to an employment lawyer who can review your employment contract and determine if you have been misclassified as exempt or a contractor. Ensure that you have carefully tracked your hours so that you can be compensated when it turns out that your employer has disallowed overtime when you should have been making much, much more money.