WERE YOU NOT PAID BY YOUR EMPLOYER? CONTACT OUR WAGE AND HOUR ATTORNEYS LOS ANGELES
You work hard, and in return, you expect to be treated fairly by your employer. That means getting paid correctly on time. It is crucial for any employee in the greater Los Angeles area to know their rights, especially if employers are withholding payment.
An economic downturn is no reason for your employer to violate your rights to fair hours and wages. You may need a lawyer to handle any disputes, including overtime, unpaid overtime, tip disputes, misclassifications, and other concerns. Can you relate to the following examples?
- Getting paid on a salary when you should have been paid hourly and receiving overtime
- Provided compensation for overtime worked instead of an overtime rate.
- Were classified as an independent contractor and issued Form 1099 instead of getting classified as an employee with Form W-2.
- You were not allowed to take lunch or rest breaks as required by law or paid for these breaks.
- The employer did not provide you with minimum wage.
- You did not get issued a pay stub with all the required areas completed.
If your employer (or a previous employer) made the following mistakes to you, contact an employment lawyer in Los Angeles to begin your claim. For now, let’s look at a few of these in more detail.
YOUR RIGHTS UNDER CALIFORNIA LAW
If you work downtown or elsewhere in California, federal and state laws offer you protection regarding wages and hours.
The Wage Theft Protection Act of 2011 was passed to force employers to be transparent from when an employee gets hired, thus limiting their exploitation. Here’s what you should know:
- Before starting the job, the employer must provide non-exempt employees with a written note detailing policy, pay, and benefits.
- Unfortunately, not all states have enacted legislation like this to ensure employers engage in legal work practices with monetary consequences.
- For not complying, employers must pay $100 per employee they violated; $200 per employee for additional violations.
The Department of Labor (DOL) protects both exempt and non-exempt employees. While both groups are classified differently for wage and overtime classification, it does not change the fact that your rights are always legally safe if your employer is violating the law.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is slightly more selective regarding coverage. Some crucial elements defined by this act are:
- A 40-hour workweek is a standard for a full-time job.
- A federal minimum wage is established at the current rate of $7.25 an hour and $2.13 for tipped employees.
- Overtime is required for certain employees.
- Restrictions are placed regarding child labor.
The FLSA covers employers under one condition. If their annual sales total $500,000 or more in interstate commerce. Though they protect all workplaces, this is the only exception. The FLSA does not cover all workers. The positions exempt from protection are:
- Computer Employee
- Outside Sales Employee
Overtime applies to all employees in California unless said person is an independent contractor, an exempt employee, or has an alternative weekly schedule for work. As of last year, the Department of Labor changed eligibility for overtime.
- The minimum salary exempt from overtime pay is $646 per week or $35,568 annually. Employees that earn less than that amount should get paid overtime if they work more than 40 hours weekly.
- In California specifically, the set amount for overtime exemption is $49,920 for companies with 25 or fewer employees; $54,080 for companies with more than 25 employees.
The law also requires employers to pay a wage rate higher than the minimum wage offered for overtime pay. However, hours worked can be limited or require approval following regulations and standards.
Unpaid overtime takes many forms:
- Your employer paid you on a salary when you should have been paid hourly, so you didn’t get any overtime at all
- Your employer paid you your regular rate for overtime hours
Both are against the law. In California, an employee must be paid time-and-a-half for any hours worked in a day after the first eight hours. After 12 hours, the employee must get paid double-time. These rules are mandatory; the employee cannot agree to take less money or work off-the-clock to avoid overtime. Even a few minutes a day can add up to a significant number of lost wages.
ARE EMPLOYERS ALWAYS REQUIRED TO COMPENSATE EMPLOYEES FOR MINIMAL OFF-THE-CLOCK WORK?
As an employer, asking an employee to do a small task off-the-clock can be considered illegal. The obligation to pay is based on two questions:
- Did the employer know the employee was working off-the-clock?
- Was the time so meager, it should be considered negligible?
The California Supreme Court recently ruled that California employers must pay employees for performing routine off-the-clock closing tasks, even if it only takes a few minutes to complete them. If your employer has not paid you, a wage and hour attorney in Los Angeles can help you get the justice and compensation you need.
HIRE THE TRIAL LAWYERS OTHER ATTORNEYS CONSULT
Since 1998, The Law Offices of Mann & Elias have helped individuals just like you receive the benefits they deserve. We represent clients at every state and federal court system level in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange, San Diego, and Ventura counties.
We know how to handle these cases best and get you the compensation you deserve. Call 323-866-9564 or email email@example.com to schedule your first consultation.
WHY CHOOSE MANN & ELIAS?
Since Scott Mann and Imad Elias have founded the employment law firm, they have successfully recovered hundreds of claims resulting in over $18 million in settlements and verdicts. While there are thousands of lawyers to choose from, our success is rooted in:
- 50+ years of trial experience
- Excellent advocacy skills
- Intense preparation and research
- Quality care
Contact us today if you intend to file a claim against your employer. We charge no fee for the initial consultation, and all cases get handled on a contingency basis.
RELATED ARTICLES ABOUT WAGE AND HOUR DISPUTES
You have questions – we’ve got answers! Need more legal help? Check out a few of our legal articles below.
3 of The Most Common Wage and Hour Violations
Wage and hour violations can take on many forms. From paying less than minimum wage or when an employer refuses to compensate an employee at all when they leave the job. When the employer violates labor laws, employees can legally act by filing a complaint with the Department of Labor. Rules are in place to prevent problems for both the workers and employers, but unfortunately, some companies violate frequently.
The three most common infringements are:
- Calculating Overtime Incorrectly
- Inaccurate Record-Keeping
- Inaccurate Pay at Termination
For a detailed overview of each violation, read our article on common wage violations.
Single-Person and Class Actions
A class action can be an effective tool to get the money you and other employees expect simultaneously. Our team will fight on your behalf to collect penalties for wage violations. If you are the named plaintiff who brought the case, there may even be a bonus at the end of the lawsuit.
Collecting Penalties for Wage Violations in California
A successful claim requires ample evidence. You should gather all documentation related to your payment. In a claim, you will be asking for damages lost depending on the violation caused.
If your employer displayed especially egregious behavior toward you, such as retaliation, they might also be forced to pay additional penalties. You can entrust one of our attorneys at Mann & Elias for the best chance at compensation and collect penalties for violations caused.
Tips, Tip Pooling, and Tip Credits – How to Spot Illegal Practices
As a waiter, waitress, or barista, you receive tips from satisfied customers daily. Tips may be a bonus to your weekly or bi-weekly paycheck. As an employee, you should know your rights and rules about tips to ensure 1) you get paid fairly, 2) you are not unknowingly participating in illegal practices. The universal rule on tips is that they belong to you – not the employer. You are not legally required to give all your tips to the employer, but you can get paid less than minimum wage. The first step you can take to prevent exploitation is educating yourself on laws regarding money from earned tips in this article.
Misclassification as an Independent Contractor
Employers often try to misclassify their employees as independent contractors to get out of paying taxes on behalf of their employees or save on payroll processing costs. When this happens, an employer could get away with paying taxes – causing you to remain on the hook for an additional 7.65%! Paying the total amount of state and federal income taxes is unfair to you.
The qualifying factors regarding who is an employee and an independent contractor are also very complicated. Still, our lawyers also deal with these rules regularly and can petition the IRS to have you correctly classified. This article provides additional insight into the ordeal.
FAQs ABOUT CALIFORNIA WAGES AND HOURS
Are pay raises required?
No. Pay raises are not required between an employee and employer. However, they can and should be above the Federal minimum wage.
Is vacation, sick, and holiday pay owed to me?
That depends specifically on your case. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require payment for any time not worked. That might include remaining vacation days or sick leave. If you feel your employer has violated your rights regarding unused time, you should give us a call to review the terms of your employment agreement.
How does severance pay get calculated?
The FLSA requires all employers to pay employees close to the minimum wage for all hours worked and a half for overtime above 40 hours. Keep in mind that the FLSA does not have a requirement for severance pay. That gets determined between you and your employer. An employment attorney in LA can also guide you if you have questions or have not received severance pay.
Pay Stubs: Are They Important?
Pay stubs are vital for employers and employees. It is an official record of your payroll. For employers, it shows that employees are getting paid accurately, timely, and the appropriate taxes and fees get deducted. As a worker, it helps you address unforeseen changes in bi-weekly or weekly pay.
Meal and Rest Breaks: What Should I Know?
- In California, non-exempt employees must receive a 30-minute lunch break if they work more than five hours
- Employees working more than 10 hours can take a second 30-minute break
- Remember that rest breaks are required for any non-exempt workers on the lock for 3 ½ or more hours daily.
- Exempt and non-exempt employees are entitled to take ten (10-minute) rest periods for every four hours worked
- The FLSA requires unpaid break time for nursing mothers to pump outside of compensated breaks.
- On July 15, 2021, the Supreme Court ruled California employers must pay regular rates for missed meal-rest periods. The premium pay must be calculated like overtime and should factor in hourly wages and other non-discretionary payments.