Employment Attorney: Law Firm Misclassifies Secretary As Exempt

Law Firms, beware, employee of firms may not be exempt, under the “exemption analysis.” In this case, the name partner of a Los Angeles law firm was charged as misclassifying his legal secretary as being exempt. Plaintiff won a jury verdict of $80,000 in overtime, her former boss had claimed that she was properly classified as an executive employee.

Ms. Bernal alleged that she was promised a salary of $1,000 per week and no evening hours. Her workload increased over time, but Mr. Little refused to pay her overtime wages. Her counsel argued to the jury to disregard Little’s assertion that there was an arrangement to pay Plaintiff a set salary, because counsel explained that her decision was not exempt from overtime.

Defendant claimed that Ms. Bernal was exempt as a manager, since she directed the work of two or more other employees, she was responsible for HR and payroll duties and could establish her own hours and manage her own workload. Plaintiff’s counsel argued that she was primarily a legal secretary, and her primary duties included the taking of dictation. The job for the employee was all consuming, she was at times working around the clock, included in her duties, the running of errands, responding to texts, telephone calls and working through weekends. The employee’s duties did not comprise the required responsibilities to meet the definition of an applicable exemption.

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If you have questions related to employment law call Mark J. Berkowitz P.A. at (954) 527-0570 for assistance.