Wage And Hour Attorney

Wage and Hour Lawyer

Wage and Hour Attorney

Consulting with a wage-and-hour attorney may be in your best interest if you have discovered that your compensation is less than what you are entitled to.

Every employee has the right to be paid fully and fairly for all job responsibilities and duties they may carry out. It is unfair and illegal for employers to try to cut costs at the expense of their employee’s wages. 

At West Coast Employment Lawyers, we have represented many employees in an effort to stop unfair treatment and worker exploitation. We understand the importance of fair wages and holding employers accountable under the law.

Schedule a free consultation with a wage-and-hour employment lawyer today from our employment attorney law firm. Our dedicated legal team will be happy to assist you in evaluating your employment case and answering any questions you might have. Call us for free today at 213-927-3700 or email us at [email protected]

California Wage and Hour Laws

California provides all workers with various employment rights, benefits, and protections under the law.

The Fair labor standards act of 1938 (FLSA) is a labor law responsible for protecting workers against unfair labor practices. Under the FLSA, employers are required and expected to operate by specific regulations regarding wages, hours, breaks, record keeping, and even overtime. 

Minimum Wage

As of January 1, 2023, the minimum wage in Califonia is $15.50 per hour for all workers and employees. This applies to employers who have 25 or fewer employees. 

Certain counties may have a higher minimum wage than the state minimum due to the cost of living. Mountain View has the highest minimum wage in California, with employees earning a minimum of $18.15 per hour. 

Overtime Pay

Any hours worked above the regular work day of 8 hours or a work week of 40 hours are considered overtime. California requires employers to pay overtime at 1.5 the rate of normal hours worked for up to 12 hours, after which employees are to be paid double times their regular rate of pay. 

Working more than six days consecutively in a workweek is also considered overtime and should be compensated with overtime pay. Employees are to be paid 1.5 times their regular rate of pay for the first 8 hours worked on the seventh day. 

Sick Leave

After the Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act of 2014 (AB 1522), California employees, since July 1, 2015, are eligible for paid sick leave. Any employee who has worked in California for more than 30 days since the start of employment is entitled to paid sick leave Employers are expected to grant 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. 

Meal and Rest Breaks

Employees must have 10 minutes of uninterrupted rest breaks after 3.5 hours of work. All rest breaks must be paid under California law. Rest breaks should not be limited to within the confines of work premises, and no tasks must be asked of or required from the employee during their break.

Employees are also permitted to forfeit their breaks willingly. However, it is illegal for your employer to suggest or coerce you to forfeit your meal or rest break. 

Commission Pay

Employers must pay their employees the same amount equivalent to California’s minimum wage, regardless of whether the employees earn a commission per sale. 

Commissions must be paid at least twice monthly, and employees must be given a written contract detailing their commission agreement. 

Employers must also provide written proof or a statement showing the method for calculating commissions and any commissions earned or owed. 

Holiday Pay 

Legally employers are not required to close their business on holidays, grant their employees the holidays off, or compensate employees with holiday pay if they decide or are required to work on a holiday.

California celebrates all the holidays under Government Code Section 19853(a). These federally recognized holidays are New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Day, President’s Day, Cesar Chavez Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, and Christmas Day. 

In addition to the above federal holidays, effective January 1st, 2023, the Governor of California has proclaimed; Lunar New Year, Genocide Remembrance Day, Juneteenth, and Native American Day as holidays as well. Employees may be granted one of these additional holidays in place of receiving a personal holiday. 

Tips and Gratuities

Under California Labor Code Section 351, employers are prohibited from making salary deductions based on tips or keeping any portion of the tips earned by their employees. 

Employees may be required to split tips with other co-workers, referred to as tip pooling. This is due to the labor code stating that tips may be distributed amongst all employees who provide “direct service” to the customer or participate in the customers’ overall experience. 

Tips and gratuities are also not to be considered as the regular rate of pay when calculating overtime pay for employees. 

Exempt Vs. Non-exempt Employees

Exempt employees in California are employees who are not protected by California wage and hour laws. These employees are exempted from minimum wage, overtime pay, and other protections the FLSA provides.

Under California law, a worker is considered exempt if they are;

  • An executive, administrative, or professional employee
  • An employee whose role requires independent judgment and minimal supervision
  • A full-time employee earning more than two times the minimum wage 

Some other exempt job positions include; Live-in employees, Union employees, Computer professionals, Commissioned employees, Medical surgeons, Private teachers, Truck drivers, and any other profession as listed by the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR)

Non-exempt employees are bound by all FLSA requirements and are often paid by the hour. However, there are some instances where a non-exempt employee may be paid a salary or commission. 

Misclassification of employees under the FLSA is illegal, and it was reported that more than 6,000 lawsuits are filed each year against employers for FLSA violations. If you believe your employer has misclassified you, you may be entitled to compensation for unpaid wages and other damages. Reach out to one of our employment attorneys today at West Coast Employment Lawyers for a free case evaluation. 

Common Wage and Hour Violations

There are numerous ways an employer can violate their employee’s rights. Here are just a few ways this can happen;

  • Paying employees below minimum wage 
  • Withholding overtime pay
  • Illegal paycheck deductions 
  • Not maintaining proper payroll records
  • Failing to pay for the total amount of time spent on the job
  • Misclassifying an employee 
  • Child labor violations 
  • Not paying commissions/bonuses 
  • Not compensating employees for work-related expenses
  • Coercing employees to work “off of the clock” or during break/meal periods

Our wage and hour attorneys can help if your employer has violated your employment rights. Schedule a free consultation with our Los Angeles employment law firm to understand your rights as a California employee better. 

Wage Theft

Wage theft happens when an employer illegally withholds money owed to their employees. When an employer doesn’t adequately compensate an employee in accordance with California’s wage and hour laws, they are committing wage theft and may be subject to fines. 

Common examples of wage theft include the following:

  • Employees being paid less than minimum wage or not at all
  • Illegal rounding of hours
  • Not allowing employees’ use of sick time
  • Constant late or untimely paychecks
  • No overtime compensation
  • No reimbursements for out-of-pocket business expenses
  • Collecting employee tips 
  • Salary reduction
  • Unpaid rest breaks 

Types of Damages Available for Wage and Hour Violations

The US Department of Labor (DOL) frowns upon employment rights and federal labor law violations. 

Under the FLSA, employees who have had their employment rights violated may be eligible for compensation for up to 2 years from the date of the violation. Employers may be asked to pay the following in damages:

  • Back Pay: This is an accumulation of the amount withheld from the employee. The amount would cover unpaid minimum and overtime wages as well as interest. 
  • Attorney Fees: The employer would be responsible for covering the cost of the employee’s wage and hour law attorney. 
  • Punitive Damages: If it is established that an employer willfully conducted employment malpractices and intentionally violated wage and hour laws, the court may award punitive damages to the employee. 

Free Consultation With Our Employment Attorneys

If you believe that your employer may be in violation of wage and hour laws in California, you may be entitled to sue your employer and recover compensation. 

Contact our Los Angeles employment law firm today for free by calling 213-927-3700. The dedicated wage and hour dispute attorneys at West Coast Employment Lawyers have years of experience and will gladly assist you with all your employment law needs. Schedule a free consultation with us today by filling out our form

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