Creative & Learned Professionals

Employment Law Attorneys for Salaried Professionals

At Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik, our overtime law attorneys have an impressive track record of recovering unpaid wages and penalties for professionals who are paid a fixed salary and no additional pay for working more than 8 hours in a workday or 40 hours in a workweek. Our employment lawyers focus on representing both learned professionals and creative professionals in lawsuits to help our clients overcome illegal compensation practices.

To be considered a Learned professional for purposes of California overtime laws and the Fair Labor Standards Act, an employee must be compensated on a salary or fee basis, perform job duties requiring advanced knowledge in a field of science and learning, and have obtained that advanced knowledge from legitimate specialized instruction.

Learned professionals, for purposes of state overtime rules, must perform tasks which are intellectual in nature and require the use of the employee’s own independent discretion and judgment as opposed to following company guidelines and protocols. When California employees perform work involving routine mental, manual, mechanical or physical work, the employee is not considered a professional and is most usually entitled to overtime pay regardless of whether or not the employee is paid on an hourly basis or on a salary basis. To be exempt from state overtime laws, professional employees must use advanced knowledge to analyze and interpret facts. The advanced knowledge cannot come from a normal high school or college degree.

Are You Working in a “Field of Science or Learning”?

Employees in California who are not paid overtime wages because they are considered professionals must work in a field of science or learning. A field of science or learning includes law, medicine, accounting, engineering and several other occupations with an accepted professional status. Even when professional employees work in fields such as skilled trades and the knowledge required for the job is somewhat advanced, the employee is not a professional for purposes of overtime pay because the employee is not working in a field of science or learning.

The professional exception to state overtime and minimum wage rules is very limited in California. Professionals are exempt from overtime pay only if they have specialized training which is a prerequisite for entering into the particular profession. Employees who attain professional skill through experience and working rather than by advanced specialized intellectual academic instruction are usually entitled to overtime pay under state labor laws and the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Overtime Pay for Creative Professionals: Call 800-568-8020

Certain creative professionals are also entitled to overtime pay in California unless the primary job duty involves invention, imagination, originality or talent in a recognized field of artistic or creative endeavor. For example, employees in the media industry are entitled to overtime wages if their primary duty is to collect and organize information. In order to be exempted from California overtime laws as a creative professional, an employee must contribute a unique interpretation or analysis. In addition, the creative workers must actually be working in a creative field such as music composition, writing, acting or graphic arts.

If you are a creative professional or learned professional and your employer pays you a fixed salary but no overtime compensation for working more than 8 hours in a workday or 40 hours in a workweek, contact an overtime law lawyer at Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik today. Our labor law attorneys in San Diego, San Jose and the San Francisco Bay Area offer professional employees free consultations on their employment law issues involving illegal pay practices. We are also committed to representing professional workers in cases of wrongful termination, discrimination or harassment.