Wage & Overtime Disputes
California has strict rules for payment of wages earned, including overtime, minimum wages, prevailing wages, commissions, bonuses meal and rest break premiums, and improper deductions from paychecks.
- Overtime: Overtime is paid at one-and-a-half times your regular rate of pay for all time worked over 8 hours a day or 40 hours in a week. In addition, time worked over 12 hours in a day or over 8 hours on the seventh consecutive day are to be paid at twice your regular rate of pay. All too often employers engage in unlawful tactics to cheat workers out of overtime pay, such as requiring them work “off the clock,” altering their time records, or classifying them as exempt/salaried workers or as independent contractors.
- Meal breaks: An employer must generally provide a 30-minute unpaid meal break to employees who work more than 5 hours in a shift. Such a meal period must commence before the end of that fifth hour of work. A second 30-minute meal period is required if an employee works more than 10 hours in a shift. During those 30 minutes, the employer (1) must relieve the employee of all duty; (2) must relinquish control over all activities of the employee: (3) must permit a reasonable opportunity to take an uninterrupted 30 minute meal break; and (4) must not discourage or in any way interfere with the employee taking an uninterrupted 30 minute meal break. If an employer fails to follow these rules, the employer must pay one additional hour of pay at the employee’s regular rate of pay each workday that the meal period is not provided or is interrupted or interfered with.
- Rest breaks: California law generally requires that employers to take 10-minute rest breaks for each 4 hour work period, or major fraction thereof. For example, if an employee works a regular 8 hour shift, he/she must generally be provided with two 10-minute rest breaks. Employees do not “clock out” for their rest breaks (e., the rest period is counted as time worked and therefore, the employer must pay for such periods). Since employees are paid for their rest periods, they can be required to remain on the employer’s premises during such periods. If an employer fails to follow these rules, the employer must pay one additional hour of pay at the employee’s regular rate of pay each workday that a rest period is not provided or is interrupted or interfered with.
- Other common wage and hour violations include:
- Failure to pay at least minimum wages for all hours worked, including any work done “off the clock” (e., before or after a worker’s scheduled shift)
- Failure to maintain a commission policy in writing and/or breaching a commission agreement and not compensating employees properly
- Failure to reimburse employees for business expenses, including uniforms, mileage, equipment, and travel expenses
- Failure to pay wages on time
- Failure to pay all earned wages immediately at the end of employment
- Failure to pay for all accrued but unused vacation wages immediately at the end of employment
- Failure to provide paid sick time in accordance with state law
- Failure to provide accurate itemized wage statements with each paycheck
- Unauthorized deductions from paychecks
- Misclassification of an employee as “exempt” or “salaried”
- Misclassification of a worker as an “independent contractor” or “1099”
At Witt Law Firm, we protect the rights of employees that have been cheated out of their hard-earned wages. If you believe that your rights have been violated, please contact our office immediately for a free consultation.
Sheila came through for us on a case that kind of popped up out of nowhere due to a clerical issue. We needed her the next day, and she came through on a holiday for her. She is very honest and upfront about everything including her pricing. She didn’t watch the clock like we’ve had experiences with other attorneys in the past. Such pleasure working with Ms. Witt as she quickly got us up to speed and prepared to take things any way they needed them to go. We will definitely return to Ms. Witt as our needs arise and we highly recommend her services.Daniel