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Wage Violations & Overtime

California Overtime Claims Attorneys Here to Help You

There are three ways in which you may be illegally underpaid for your work:

  • Unpaid straight-time wages: You are asked to “work off the clock.”
  • For example, you are told by your boss that you should have gotten all your work done during regular working hours. Since you didn’t, he wants to clock out and finish up on your own time.
  • Unpaid overtime wages: Your employer has a policy against paying overtime or you are wrongly classified as exempt from overtime.
  • For example, you are a secretary and get paid a salary. Your boss says that, since you earn a salary, they don’t have to pay you for any overtime.
  • Unpaid minimum wage: Your employer sets up your pay in a way that, when you divide your pay by your number of hours, works out to be less than minimum wage.
  • For example, you are a courier and you are paid $10 for each delivery you make. Although you work eight hours, there are only three deliveries on an average day. When you do the math, you’re getting only $3.75 per hour.

More Facts About Unpaid Overtime:

If you are an hourly (“nonexempt”) worker, California law requires that you be paid at one-and-a-half times your regular hourly rate if you work more than eight hours in a work day and/or 40 hours in a work week. Overtime must be paid in wages, not in goods or time off.

Several classifications of salaried employees are exempt from these legal minimum Wage and Hour requirements under California law. They include outside salespersons, independent contractors, employees of certain retail establishments, and others who meet various job exemptions, such as those who hold a bona fide executive, administrative, or professional job. If you are not sure about your classification as an employee, contact us at the Law Offices of Kevin T. Barnes for immediate assistance.

A “workweek” is defined as one period of 168 hours, or seven consecutive twenty-four hour periods. The workweek may start at any time, or on any day, as long as the starting day and time are applied consistently. Employees who are eligible for overtime pay may not waive their right to receive it.

As an hourly worker, you may be entitled to overtime pay under the following conditions:

  • If you arrive at work earlier than your starting time and do light work at the request of the employer
  • If you typically work through lunch breaks at the employer’s request
  • If you take work home with the knowledge and permission of the employer
  • When at home you are required to be “on call” and ready to report to work within an hour
  • If you work several hours of overtime on a Friday and the employer states that you can leave work several hours earlier the following week
  • If the job requires you to stay overnight for out-of-state assignments or travel extensively while on company business (but not for normal commuting travel to and from your home)

Employers who fail to pay required overtime are liable for any unpaid overtime compensation and an equal amount as liquidated damages, plus attorneys’ fees and costs. For willful violations, damages sometimes include earned overtime up to four years back, plus punitive damages. Employers may not make any deals to settle wage and hour claims for less than the full amount (even when a release is signed by the employee to defeat the rights of the worker).

If your employer is forcing you to work overtime without being paid the overtime rate, or you have a claim for wages that are due you as overtime, contact us to schedule a meeting with experienced legal counsel.