Employee Overtime Claims
Our lawyers and attorneys litigate wage and other overtime claims in Southern California, including Los Angeles County, Orange County, Santa Barbara County and Ventura County. Employees in California who are paid improperly often have significant claims for wages and penalties against their employers. Overtime pay is required for many employees under both federal law and/or California law, including the California Labor Code and the Federal Labor Standards Act.
In California, the general overtime laws are that a nonexempt employee shall not work more than eight (8) hours in any work day or more than forty (40) hours in any work week, unless he or she receives one and one-half times (1 ½) his or her regular rate of pay for all hours worked over eight hours in any work day and over forty hours in the work week. Eight hours of labor constitutes a day’s work, and employment beyond eight hours in any work day or more than six (6) days in any work week is permissible provided the employee is compensated for the overtime at the proper statutory overtime rates.
There are, however, a number of lawful exemptions from the overtime law, which employers may assert to avoid overtime liability. An “exemption” means that the overtime law does not apply to a particular classification of employees. Employers often mis-classify employees as “exempt” even though the employees do not actually qualify for an exemption under California and/or federal law. Importantly, just because an employee is paid a salary does not necessarily mean the employee is exempt from the overtime laws. A salaried employee must be paid overtime unless he or she meets the test for exempt status as defined by applicable federal and/or state laws, or unless the employee is specifically exempted from overtime by the provisions of one of the Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Orders regulating wages, hours and working conditions. The most common types of misclassifications are managers who do not spend more than half their time performing management level duties, managers who do not supervise two or more employees, outside salespersons who do not spend more than half their time on outside sales duties, inside salespersons who are not in the retail or service industries or who are not paid a commission based on the price of a product or service, professionals who do not have a professional license or degree, and/or employees who do not exercise the required independent discretion and judgment.
Employers must pay employees for all authorized and known overtime. However, even if an employee works unauthorized overtime the employer may be obligated to pay for it. California law often requires that employers pay overtime, whether authorized or not because an employee must be compensated for any hours he or she is “suffered or permitted to work, whether or not required to do so.” These claims are sometimes referred to as “off-the-clock” claims.
If you believe you have been improperly denied overtime wages, call Magnanimo & Dean, LLP, for an initial consultation or case evaluation call toll-free on 877-692-3881 to reach our Woodland Hills office, or you can reach our lawyers by filling out our contact form at our contact page.
Meal and Rest Period Issues
In addition to overtime, California law provides that employees are entitled to additional pay sometimes referred to as “premium pay” or “premium penalties” for missed, short or late meal periods or rest breaks. California Labor Code section 226.7(b) requires employees to be paid one (1) hour’s pay at their regular rate for each work day they are not provided a meal or rest period that complies with the requirements of the applicable Industrial Welfare Commission wage order.
The requirement for a daily meal period is generally not waivable. A covered California employee must be provided at least thirty (30) minutes for every work period of more than five (5) hours as an unpaid meal period within the first (5) hours of the workday, with a second meal period for work days more than ten (10) hours. During meal periods, employees must be relieved of all duties, and free to leave the workplace. California law places the responsibility on the employer to assure that its employees take their full meal period.
A similar requirement exists with respect to rest breaks, which must be provided to employees at the rate of ten (10) minutes for each four (4) hour period worked, or “major portion” thereof. Unlike meal periods, rest breaks are paid time, and the employee may be required to remain on the employer’s premises.
If you have been denied meal or rest breaks, call Magnanimo & Dean, LLP, for an initial consultation or case evaluation call toll-free on 877-692-3881 to reach our Woodland Hills office, or you can reach our lawyers by filling out our contact form at our contact page.