When employees go to work each day, they expect their employers to treat them not only with the respect they deserve, but to also pay them the wages for which they have worked. However, many employers in California choose to not play by the rules and thus cheat their employees out of hard-earned money. Whether this means failing to pay them overtime wages, classifying them as independent contractors rather than employees, or other tactics, the fact is thousands of California workers in various occupations are cheated every day by their employers. If you are having disputes with an employer about California wage and hour laws, it is best for you to consult with an employment lawyer who can protect your rights and advise you how to proceed with the matter.
Exempt or Non-Exempt Employee?
When disputes take place between employees and employers in California, it is often due to the question of whether an employee is considered to be exempt or non-exempt from being paid overtime while on the job. Under California law, any employee who has been classified as an exempt employee is not entitled to overtime pay. In most cases, exempt employees include anyone who is considered by their employer to be working in an executive, professional, or administrative position. In addition, individuals who are employed as physicians, teachers, computer software engineers, or workers who receive more than 50% of their pay in commissions may also be considered exempt from overtime pay requirements. While employers can make honest mistakes in these situations, others may choose to classify an employee as exempt when in fact they know this is wrong. If you are being denied the overtime wages you deserve, speak to an employment atorney at West Coast Employment Lawyers at once
Minimum Wage Requirements
If there is one problem that compels many workers to seek out a wage and hour attorney for assistance, it is failing to be paid the minimum wage by their employer. Like issues involving whether an employee is exempt or non-exempt, employers will often decide some of their workers are not required to be paid the state’s minimum wage. Currently, California law states that employers that have no more than 25 employees must pay all eligible employees at least $12 per hour as a minimum wage. For businesses with more than 25 employees, the minimum wage is $13 per hour. Beginning in 2022, California labor law will require all employers, regardless of how many employees they have, to pay their workers a minimum wage of $15 per hour. As for exceptions to this rule, the only one applies to persons who are classified as independent contractors by a company. If you believe your employer is doing all they can to avoid paying you minimum wage for your work, don’t allow this to continue. Instead, use the California wage and hour laws to your advantage by consulting with an employment lawyer who will hold your employer accountable for their actions.
Like minimum wage disputes, overtime pay is also an area where employees and employers often disagree. According to California labor laws as of 2020, all employees of a company who are classified as non-exempt are entitled to overtime pay for any hours they work that exceed the 40-hour per week schedule. In most cases, this will consist of pay that is equal to 1.5 times their normal rate of pay, commonly referred to as “time and a half” pay. In situations where employees work a 12-hour shift, such as in manufacturing or warehouse fulfillment jobs, employees are entitled to “double time” overtime, which is a pay rate equal to twice their normal hourly wage for any hours past the 12-hour mark. Since employers know overtime hours can add up quickly, they sometimes choose to either misclassify employees as exempt or instead use pressure or intimidation tactics to force employees to work “off the clock,” meaning the work is completed by employees but they are not paid for their efforts. In both cases, these practices are illegal. If your employer is forcing you to work off the clock or is using other methods to avoid paying you the overtime wages you deserve, hire an employment atorney at once.
Employee or Independent Contractor?
Perhaps one of the trickiest and most misused areas of employment law by employers, the question of whether a person is considered to be a company employee or an independent contractor is one that comes up all too frequently. In California, a person is considered to be an independent contractor only if an agreement is in place stating they will perform a specific service, ensure the performed service gives clearly spelled-out results, and will do so for a specific rate of pay. Also, the person must be allowed to maintain control over how they perform their service and achieve the desired result. If neither of these are evident, then an individual is considered to be a company employee. However, since classifying a person as an independent contractor will enable an employer to avoid paying minimum wage, overtime, and payroll taxes on that individual, this is one of the most abused areas of employment law. If you know you are an actual employee but are being classified as an independent contractor by your employer, don’t allow this violation of California labor law to continue. To get the job status and compensation you deserve, hire a wage and hour attorney from West Coast Employment Lawyers who can examine your case and make sure your legal rights as a hard-working employee are protected. You can also go to their home page at, https://www.employmentattorneylosangeles.com to get more information you need.
Meal and Rest Breaks
If you are a non-exempt employee in California, state law requires your employer to provide you with both meal and rest breaks during your shift. When it comes to meal breaks, employers are required to provide these for any non-exempt employees who work more than five hours during their workday, with the meal break being for 30 minutes. As for rest breaks, non-exempt employees who work at least four hours per shift are entitled to one 10-minute rest break that is paid time. In addition, the employer is not allowed to expect the employee who is on a rest break to continue performing any of their job duties or be on-call during the break. If you are being denied meal or rest breaks while on the job or are being forced to continue performing various job-related duties during these breaks, this must stop. To get the legal help you will need to see that your rights are protected, consult with an employment lawyer who will listen to your concerns and take the appropriate legal action on your behalf.
The Right to Sue
If you are unable to resolve your wage and hour dispute, you may need to pursue a lawsuit against your employer. Should you do so, you are entitled to seek such damages as back pay, interest on that back pay, and compensation for attorney and court costs. However, you will not be able to seek compensation for any emotional distress you suffered while on the job, so keep this in mind when speaking to your attorney.
When employers take advantage of their employees and deny them the wages they worked hard for and deserve, legal action is often necessary. If you have been victimized by your employer but are now determined to fight back and get the compensation you deserve, schedule a consultation today with an experienced wage and hour attorney at West Coast Employment Lawyers.