Wage and Hour Lawyer
If your employer violated any of California’s wage and hour laws, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit against them to recover damages. At West Coast Employment Lawyers, our experienced wage and hour lawyers will help guide you through each and every step of the legal process to ensure you get the compensation you are entitled to.
To schedule a free case evaluation with one of our top-rated wage and hour lawyers, we welcome you to contact us by calling 213-927-3700, emailing [email protected], or completing our online contact form located on the bottom of the page.
Wage and Hour Violations You Should Know About
Wage and hour violations encompass one of the most common and serious workplace issues throughout California. While it’s true that many employers mistakenly misclassify their workers as independent contractors, it is also an unfortunate reality that some employers deliberately misclassify their employees to help reduce operating costs and avoid paying state and federal taxes.
California requires that most employers abide by certain rules, such as tracking hours, paying overtime, and providing rest and meal breaks for their employees. Unfortunately, many employers often take advantage of their employees by violating wage and hour laws and not paying them their hard earned wages and overtime pay.
What Are Wage and Hour Violations?
Wage and hour violations may occur when an employer is underpaying an employee or is simply not paying an employee the compensation they deserve.
For instance, California’s minimum wage is $15.50 per hour, which is more than the federal minimum wage of $7.25. Employees who live in the state are entitled to receive $15.50 or more. If an employer offers compensation that is lower than the minimum wage, they will be going against California’s wage and hour laws.
Another example would be an employee who is working more than 40 hours a week, but is not given overtime pay for the extra hours they have contributed to the company. Other additional wage and hour violations that have occurred in the workplace include the following: misclassifying employees as exempt or non-exempt, classifying employees as independent contractors rather than as employees, and denying employees their legally mandated meal and/or rest breaks.
What Are California’s Wage and Hour Laws?
California’s wage and hour laws go through changes practically every year. It’s important to keep yourself up-to-date with each new law to ensure you are aware of your legal rights as a worker. Below are some changes that the state has announced for 2023.
Starting January 1, 2023, minimum wage will be $15.50 per hour for all employers in California.
Back in 2017, California began implementing rules to gradually raise the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour. Large employers with 26 or more employees and small employers with 25 or less employees experienced different minimum wage increases.
Employees must be paid the local wage in cases where it is higher than the state or federal minimum wage rates if a local entity, such as a city or county, has enacted a higher minimum wage.
Overtime for Agriculture Workers
On January 1, 2022, an overtime law was established towards large companies with more than 26 or more employees. It specifically stated that these companies are required to compensate agriculture workers overtime after 8 hours in a day or 40 hours per week.
Fast-forward to January 1, 2023, in which another overtime law has been created, but this time it is directed towards companies with 25 or less employees. This new law enforces small companies to compensate agriculture workers overtime hours after 9 hours per day or 50 hours per week.
Those who worked under the hospitality or service industry that were laid off due to COVID-related reasons will be the first to know about any new job openings similar to what they last held. These employees will be given priority based on the length of service before new employees are hired.
Can My Employer Refuse to Pay Me?
No, an employer cannot refuse to pay you for the hours you have worked. Employers are required to pay their employees for any hours they have contributed to the company. They must also pay their employees at regular intervals, such as biweekly or semimonthly. Employers who do not pay their employees are subject to penalties and even criminal prosecution.
Furthermore, a typical workday is eight hours. Any additional work that exceeds 40 hours in one workweek must be paid at the rate of one and one-half times the normal rate.
What Is Wage Theft?
Wage theft is when an employer does not properly compensate an employee in accordance with California’s wage and hour laws. Common examples of wage theft include the following:
- An employee is being paid less than California’s minimum wage.
- An employer refuses to offer overtime pay to an employee who has worked more than 40 hours in a week.
- An employer fails to reimburse an employee for business expenses.
- An employer steals an employee’s tips.
- An employer refuses to provide meal and/or rest breaks.
- An employer has a habit of not paying their employees on time.
- An employer reduces an employee’s salary, but it does not comply with California’s wage and hour laws.
- An employer does not compensate the employee for taking a paid leave.
Wage theft is generally reported by employees who have a low salary, such as those working in janitorial services, agriculture, restaurants, poultry processing, garment manufacturing, and retail.
How Do I Report a Wage and Hour Violation?
Before you make the decision of reporting your employer for violating California’s wage and hour laws, you should speak to them privately about the matter. Ask your employer for an explanation. This will help determine whether a processing error or even a bank mistake was responsible for your reduced or missing wages, and not because your employer just did not want to pay you.
If there was indeed a mistake, your employer should voluntarily agree to cover any charges you incurred as a result of their mistake. Engaging in dialogue also has the added benefit of showing you didn’t fail to submit records for your hours worked.
However, if you have noticed a pattern of not being paid on time or in full, or if it is apparent that you are not getting paid on purpose, you should report it to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD). This agency is responsible for administering and enforcing many of the nation’s important worker protection laws.
Prior to filing your wage and hour violation report, you must gather any specific details the WHD will need to know. This includes information about your employer, the number of hours you have worked for the company, and your paystubs. Once all of these documents have been collected, you may proceed to the next step, which is submitting your report to the Labor Commissioner’s Office.
You may file your claim in person at a local Labor Commissioner’s Office, by email, or by mail. If you choose to have it mailed to the Labor and Commissioner’s Office, you will need to download a claim form, fill it out, print it, and attach documents that are relevant to the report.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Reporting a Wage and Hour Violation?
The statute of limitations to report a wage and hour violation may vary depending on the situation.
- If your employer went against an oral agreement, you will be given up to two years to file a wage and hour violation claim.
- If your employer violated a written agreement, you will have up to four years to file a wage and hour violation claim against them.
- If your employer failed to give you overtime pay or for taking paid leave, you may be granted up to three years from the date of when the violation occurred to file a claim against them.
- If your employer failed to give you a copy of or access to your payroll or personnel records, you may be given up to one year to file a claim against them.
The Labor Commissioner’s Office will review and investigate your report. They will also keep all details mentioned in the report confidential.
Can an Employer Retaliate Against Me if I Report a Wage and Hour Violation?
It is illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee for reporting them for any suspicious or fraudulent activity, especially if it violates California’s wage and hour laws. If this happens, you can file a retaliation complaint with the Labor Commissioner’s Office. Please be aware that you have rights and you are entitled to protect yourself and your hard earned wages.
West Coast Employment Lawyers Is Here to Help
If you have noticed your employer improperly compensating you for the hard work and dedication you have contributed to the company, you may be entitled to file a lawsuit against them for violating California’s wage and hour laws. At West Coast Employment Lawyers, our wage and hour lawyers are readily available to assist victims who have been wronged by their employers.
We are devoted to ensuring that every case we handle has an outcome that the client will be satisfied with. We run on a contingency-fee basis, meaning that if we are unable to settle or win your case, you are not obligated to compensate us for the legal services we have provided.
If you are interested in setting up a free consultation with one of our experienced wage and hour lawyers, you may contact us by calling 213-927-3700, emailing [email protected], or filling out our quick contact form located on the bottom of the page.
This firm was extremely professional! The took over the entire process for us, from beginning to end… I'm not sure what I was expecting but they were fantastic. They helped us make the right decisions and got us great settlements. My mom doesn't have a yelp account but trust me, I speak for both of us when I say I highly recommend their services.
Neama and Allen are awesome lawyers and handled my case as if it was their own. If you are searching for attentive, aggressive, and compassionate lawyers, this is the law firm you need to go with! Their entire team is so professional and never had me questioning their work…Thank you to everyone who helped me get through this tough time of my life.
I want to give a huge THANK YOU to the whole West Coast Employment Lawyers team for all your attention, help, support, dedication, professionalism, and RESULTS... you guys made the entire experience from start to finish easy, simple, and confusion free. I will recommend you guys to anyone I know that needs a lawyer.