Salary OK for nonexempts, as long as it covers OT

It’s fine to pay an hourly worker a set salary as long as it covers appropriate overtime. You may deduct from the salary if the employee doesn’t work enough hours.

Recent case: Xianglie accepted a job as a restaurant cook after agreeing to a monthly wage of $3,200. He would work five 12-hour shifts and another seven-hour shift for a total of 67 hours each week. Twice per month, he got a check for $1,600. If he didn’t work all the hours, his pay was adjusted down. Paystubs referenced $9.67 per hour and $14.51 for overtime.

He quit and sued, alleging he should have been classified as exempt salaried.

The court disagreed, citing his duties. It said the salary arrangement was fine, since it reflected an hourly rate and appropriate overtime. (Jin v. Soon Poong, Court of Appeal of California, 2018)