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. This means getting paid what you are owed in a timely manner. It is important that you know and understand your rights as an employee.
It’s tempting to think, in these economic times, that you’re lucky just to have a job, and that you shouldn’t fight about a few dollars here and there. But if your employer is refusing to pay you what you are owed, those dollars can add up. An economic downturn is no reason for your employer to break the law, or for you to go along with it. You may need a lawyer to sue an employer for unpaid wages.
These lawyers are called wage and hour attorneys Los Angeles. But these lawyers focus on much more than just unpaid overtime. Wage and hour attorneys Los Angeles also fight for you if you:
- Were paid on a salary when you should have been paid hourly and receiving overtime
- Were paid straight time for overtime worked, instead of an overtime rate
- Were classified as an independent contractor and issued a Form 1099 instead of being classified as an employee and issued a Form W-2
- Were not allowed to take lunch or rest breaks as required by law, or were not paid for these breaks
- Were not paid minimum wage
- Were not issued a pay stub with all of the required areas completed
If your employer (or a previous employer) did any of these things to you, you may have a claim, and need to contact an unpaid overtime lawyer Los Angeles. Let’s look at a few of these in more detail.
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; or 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 be paid double-time. These rules are mandatory; the employee cannot agree to take less money or work off-the-clock to avoid getting overtime. Even a few minutes a day can add up to a lot of lost wages if those few minutes are multiplied over many years. You may need a lawyer to sue an employer for unpaid wages if this has happened to you.
Some employees, due to the nature of their work, are classified as “exempt” from receiving overtime. These employees are typically in white-collar jobs. But the rules on who qualifies as exempt are extremely complex, causing many employees to be classified as exempt when they should actually be eligible for overtime. Overtime dispute lawyers Los Angeles deal with these rules on a daily basis. If you have any questions about whether you have been misclassified as an exempt employee, contact an unpaid overtime lawyer Los Angeles.
Misclassification as an Independent Contractor
Many times, employers will try to try to misclassify their employees as independent contractors to get out of paying their fair share of taxes on behalf of their employees or to save on payroll processing costs. Under federal law, employers must pay 7.65 percent of wages paid to employees to the government in the form of payroll taxes. This is on top of the 7.65 percent that is deducted from your paycheck for the same taxes. They must also withhold a percentage of your wages for state and federal income taxes, unless you have chosen to not have them withhold anything.
But if the employer classifies you as an independent contractor, they no longer have to pay their half of the payroll tax, nor do they have to withhold any taxes on your behalf. This means that when the end of the year rolls around, you will be on the hook for an extra 7.65 percent in taxes, and you will have to pay the full amount of state and federal income taxes owed. This can come as a shock to many employees who thought that their employer was treating them as a traditional employee.
The rules regarding who is an employee and who is an independent contractor are also very complicated, but our overtime dispute lawyers Los Angeles also deal with these rules regularly, and can petition the IRS to have you correctly classified. They can then sue the employer for the money that you are owed.
Single-Person and Class Actions
While you may think that you are alone in being mistreated by your employer, this is often not the case. Many wage and hour violations are committed against a group of employees, or perhaps even all of the employees of a given employer. In these cases, a wage and hour attorney will bring a lawsuit on behalf of you and everyone in the same situation as you. This is called a “class action.”
A class action can be a very effective tool to get the money that you and everyone like you are owed at the same time. Our team will fight on your behalf to collect penalties for wage violation. There may even be a bonus at the end of the lawsuit for you if you are the named plaintiff that brought the case. If you think that others in your situation may also have been treated unfairly, consider discussing the possibility of a class action with a wage and hour attorney.
If your employer has not paid you everything you are owed, contact a wage and hour attorney today to get the justice and compensation you are entitled to.