Wage and Hour Violations
California and federal law is designed to protect hourly employees from being preyed upon by unscrupulous employers. Even so, California wage and hour violations happen more often than one would think. Every day, employers misclassify their employees as being independent contractors or as otherwise exempt from the obligation to pay them overtime. Employers fail to give their employees required breaks and meal rest periods. Some employers do this out of misinterpretation or ignorance of applicable state and federal laws. Others do so deliberately in the interests of saving money and hope that their employees never become aware of their rights.
The California wage and hour attorneys at Glick Law Group have extensive experience successfully representing employees in a wide variety of industries for California wage and hour violations. Our law firm has brought claims pursuant to California law and the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) against employers both large and small for unpaid wages, unpaid overtime, unpaid vacation, meal and rest break violations, “off the clock” violations, unpaid expense reimbursements, unpaid commissions, and more.
Steep Penalties Exist for Wage and Hour Violations Under California Law
California’s wage and hour laws and the penalties for violating them are steeper than those under federal law. In addition, California’s minimum wage is higher than the minimum wage under federal law and requires employers to pay employees for all hours worked -- whether or not directly related to an employee’s main job duties.
Employees who prevail on claims for meal break violations are entitled to receive one hour's wages at their regular rate of pay for every day the employer fails to provide a meal rest period. Moreover, employers cannot skirt these requirements by requiring employees to clock out for meal breaks, while requiring them to remain at the job site during meal breaks so that they are available to wait on customers, then they’re entitled to receive payment at their regular rate of pay for the meal period plus a premium of one hour's pay. That premium payment penalty doesn’t exist under federal law.
Employees are also entitled to receive one hour's premium pay at their regular rate of pay for each day their employer fails to provide them with one or more paid ten minute breaks.
Further, an employee who does not receive all wages owed at the conclusion of their employment may be entitled to up to 30 days of pay in “waiting time penalties.”
Other common wage and hour violations include:
- Failing to pay overtime wages -- According to California law, employers are required to pay employees overtime compensation at a rate of 1.5 times the standard (or regular) pay rate whenever employees work greater than 8 hours in a day, or 40 hours in a week. Further, employers are legally required to pay overtime compensation regardless of whether or not the employer has authorized the overtime work. This means that, if your employer has a policy requiring you to get overtime approved and you end up working overtime without this approval, you are still legally entitled to the overtime pay.
- Forcing employees to work off the clock – This can involve requirements that employees work through their break and/or lunch time without pay and/or that they put in unpaid time after a normal shift (or over a weekend).
- Failing or refusing to pay employees for prep time or off-site work – While this can include failing to pay employees for the time they need to gear up and/or prepare for a shift, it can also involve failures to compensate for work done at home (or any off-site location).
- Manipulating time sheets or unfairly rounding hours for time worked – This can involve employers changing the hours logged on time sheets (or in time-keeping programs). It can also stem from questionable (if not illegal) policies of consistently rounding down time worked to avoid paying employees the full amount of wages they’ve earned.
- Expense reimbursement - California law requires employers to reimburse must pay for work-related expenses. This includes cell phone use, mileage and any other business-related expense.
- Wage violations, such as failing to pay double time (when it’s due or owed), illegally docking employees’ wages, and illegally garnishing employees’ tips/commissions/bonuses.
Do You Have a California Wage and Hour Violation?
If you believe your employer may have committed California wage and hour violations such as failing to pay overtime, failing to reimburse work related expenses, failing to provide required paid 10 minute rest breaks or 30 minute meal rest periods, requiring you to stay on site during meal breaks even though you were required to clock out, etc., contact Glick Law Group today. Our legal team can help you figure out whether you have a claim and then help you recover the compensation to which you’re entitled.