Experienced Employment Lawyers for Southern California Wage and Hour Violations
The labor and employment law attorneys at Rounds & Sutter help workers throughout Southern California recover compensation for unpaid overtime and other wage claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act and the California Labor Code.
Minimum Wage, Maximum Hours and Overtime Violations
The U.S. Department of Labor enforces the Fair Labor Standards Act, which mandates a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour and a maximum 40-hour workweek. Any hours over 40 in a week are to be paid at time-and-a-half, i.e. one and one half times the employee’s regular rate of pay. California law goes even further and requires that employees be paid at least $8.00 an hour, with overtime kicking in not only for more than 40 hours in a week but also for more than eight hours a day. Also under state law, employees who work more than twelve hours in a day or more than six days in a row are entitled to be paid at twice their regular rate for those extra hours.
Misclassification is a common reason that employees do not receive the overtime they are due. Employees may be misclassified as exempt from overtime as a white collar professional, executive, or administrative employee, or because they work in outside sales or in a computer or high-tech position. While these roles are exempt from the overtime rules, there are specific tests to determine whether an employee truly meets the statutory definition of an exempt worker. Employers who misapply these tests may wrongly classify an employee as exempt and require them to work more than 40 hours a week without paying overtime compensation.
Another common mistake is classifying a worker as an independent contractor rather than an employee. Independent contractors are exempt from the overtime requirements, and there are many other reasons they are attractive to employers, such as paying less in social security and payroll taxes, insurance and fringe benefits. However, there is a long string of tests that can be used to determine whether the employer is in control of the worker so that the worker is truly an employee and not an independent contractor.
Meal Periods, Rest Breaks and Expense Reimbursement
Other common wage & hour violations involve meal periods, rest breaks and expense reimbursement. California law requires employers to give 30-minute unpaid meal breaks for shifts over five hours, and ten-minute paid breaks every four hours, but the details regarding the provision of these breaks can be very complicated. Likewise, employees required to use a cell phone or drive their own vehicle for work can be reimbursed for their expenses, but there are many different ways of determining how much that reimbursement should be.
Experienced Employment Lawyers for Your Overtime and Wage Claims
Wage and hour violations are normally not isolated incidents and may go on for years until somebody notices and takes steps to correct them. Wage claims can go back several years, and employees can recover interest along with their back wages, as well as attorney’s fees and the costs of pursuing the claim. However, you cannot go back forever, and if you wait too long, your right to recover unpaid wages that were due to you can be lost.
If your boss has told you that you are exempt from overtime but you are not sure, contact our office for an analysis of your position. Likewise, if you have been told to work off the clock, to eat lunch at your desk while you catch up on paperwork, to run errands outside of your workday, to change in and out of your uniform at the job site on your own time, or if you were called in and then sent home without being paid, you may have a valid claim for unpaid wages. From Santa Barbara to Orange County and throughout Southern California, contact Rounds & Sutter for advice an representation from experienced and effective wage and hour attorneys.