California HR

Exempt vs. Non-Exempt: California Rules on Employee Suspensions

We recently received the following question from a subscriber:

Can we suspend an exempt employee without pay for violating a written policy?

Our answer:


An employer in California may deduct from the salary of an exempt employee for time off because of a disciplinary suspension if the suspension is for a full week or more. Deductions may not be made if the time off is a partial day, a full day, or a partial week.

These standards are different from the federal standards. Under
the FLSA, deductions from the pay of exempt employees may be made for
unpaid disciplinary suspensions of one or more full days imposed in good
faith for infractions of workplace conduct rules, such as rules
prohibiting sexual harassment, workplace violence, drug or alcohol use,
or for violations of state or federal laws, as long as the suspension is
made pursuant to a written policy applicable to all employees.

Want more on exempt vs. non-exempt: California-specific rules? Download our free White Paper, Who’s Entitled to Overtime: How to Avoid Mistakes When Classifying California Employees.