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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 12801
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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I am a computer animator and have a contract that obligates

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I am a computer animator and have a contract that obligates me to a 40 hour work week. It does say that I am exempt from overtime in my contract. My company, which has a history of lawsuits against it related to labor law violations, is requiring that I begin working 80 hours a week while trying to finish a project. They are not offering a bonus or other compensation. Are they within their rights to do this?

I have also been working overtime for over a year, amounting to about 54 hours a week and have been paid my base salary.

Thank you.
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question.

Califonria law does recognize an exemption from overtime for certain computer software engineers. However, in order for the exemption to apply, the employee must be paid an hourly rate of $39.90 or a salary of $6,927.75 per month.

If the employee is paid on an hourly basis, they are still entitled to be paid for all hours they actually spend working, even if those hours are in excess of 40 per week. If the employee is paid on a salary basis, they can be forced to work any number of hours without any increase in pay.

Assuming the exemption applies in your circumstance, which would be likely if you are a computer animator, the question boils down to whether you are paid on a salary or hourly basis. From your question it would appear you are being paid a flat salary. If you are paid a salary in excess of $6927.75 per month, then your employer can regretfully force you to work any number of hours they desire without paying you anything extra. If you are paid on an hourly basis, however, you would need to be paid for each hour at a rate no less than $39.90.

Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes to you and thank you so much for coming to Just Answer.
Patrick, Esq. and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.



I did have a follow up question. Legally am I eligible for any type of compensation, bonuses or royalties, for all the free overtime that the company has received?


Thank you very much for your reply.

From a purely legal standpoint, in terms of what your employer is obligated to pay you, the answer is unfortunately "no." The very purpose of an overtime exemption is to limit an employer's legal responsibility to pay only the basic hourly rate or base salary. There is no obligation to make any payment beyond that.

Of course, this does not mean that you cannot ask for it. Compensation agreements are always subject to negotiation between employer and employee. However, there is just no legal basis to make any demands.

If I can be of any further assistance to you, just let me know.