Sacramento Wage and Hour Lawyer

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Sacramento Wage and Hour Attorney

As an employee, you deserve fair compensation. You have important rights regardless of whether you earn an hourly wage or salary. You might also have additional rights under an employment contract or collective bargaining agreement.

We are fortunate to live in a country where the law protects employees’ rights to a reasonable wage. Both state and federal laws regulate wages. They give employees a path to enforcing their rights and reporting violations.

Sacramento Wage and Hour Lawyer

As an employee, you deserve fair compensation. You have important rights regardless of whether you earn an hourly wage or salary. You might also have additional rights under an employment contract or collective bargaining agreement. We are fortunate to live in a country where the law protects employees’ rights to a reasonable wage. Both state and federal laws regulate wages. They give employees a path to enforcing their rights and reporting violations.

California law specifically protects your wages and hours as a worker. Oftentimes, employers violate both federal and state laws regarding wage laws. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, these employers have treated workers unfairly according to the law, by not paying them the wages to which they are entitled. To better understand your rights, these are the seven most common violations of wage laws in California.

    1. Misclassification as an independent contractor. An independent contractor is technically in business for themselves and not an employee of a company. As such, they are not afforded the same rights and benefits as an employee including overtime pay and meal breaks. If an employer misclassified an employee as an independent contractor, they would not have to pay that employee for overtime or ensure that they are paid and treated the same as other similarly situated employees in the company.California requires that an employment relationship exists when the employer has the right to control the manner and means by which the employee gets a job done. If for an employer the following is true, the worker may be an independent contractor instead of an employee:
      • Little to no supervision of the worker
      • The worker cannot be fired because of a separate contract that needs to be fulfilled
      • The worker works for more than one company and owns their own business
      • The worker makes business decisions
      • The worker provides their own equipment
      • The work is for a fixed period of time
      • The worker is paid through invoices after a project is completed
      • The worker was not trained by the business

There are other considerations as well, but ultimately if an employee is truly an employee of the company, then they will have the rights of an employee including comparable pay to other employees, pay during mealtimes, and overtime pay.

  1. Misclassification as an “exempt” employee. An exempt employee is a worker who is not subject to the wage and hour laws of California. The three requirements to obtain an exempt employee status are a salary at least twice that of the minimum wage for full-time employment, the job is a white-collar job, and the employee’s duties require independent judgment and discretion. If an employer attempts to misclassify an employee incorrectly as an exempt employee, it will violate wage and hour laws.
  2. Failure to pay employees timely. An employer must pay employees timely. While there are different types of payment schedules and arrangements that can be made between an employer and an employee, whatever schedule is decided upon must be honored. If an employer fails to pay employees, or fails to pay them in a timely manner, this would be a violation of the wage and hour laws.
  3. Final paycheck violations. The final paycheck of an employee is likely an important one as they either are fired or have quit their employment with the company. If an employee is fired in the State of California, typically all unpaid wages up to the date of termination must be made on the same day the employee is terminated. If an employee resigns from employment giving at least 72 hours of notice, they must also be paid their final wages on their last day of employment. If they do not give notice, their final paycheck must be provided within 72 hours after their last day of work. An employer can receive penalties if they do not provide final paychecks according to the law in a timely manner.
  4. Failure to relieve employees of duty during breaks. Employers are required to give employees breaks during the working day. The number of rest breaks and meal breaks differs among different classes of employees. However, once it is established what meal and breaks are provided for employees, an employer must honor that agreement. If they fail to provide a rest or meal break, the employee is entitled to one extra hour of pay at the regular hourly rate.
  5. Failure to pay overtime. Employers are required by law to pay overtime to employees who work more than 40 hours in a workweek or a seventh consecutive day in any workweek. There are complex laws that relate to overtime, however, if you are an employee working over 40 hours a week and not considered a non-exempt employee, your employer by law, has to pay you overtime pay, which is time-and-a-half of your regular wages.
  6. Retaliation against employees who challenge wage violations. In California, employees have a right to report unlawful activities of employers regarding wage and hour violations. Employers are legally prohibited from retaliating against employees, punishing or firing them for disclosing information or voicing concerns regarding wage and hour violations to the government, law enforcement or their superiors.

Standing Up for Employees’ Wage Rights

If your employer fails to comply with the law concerning pay, benefits or any other form of compensation, you can pursue accountability through the legal process. Turn to the team at Asbill Law Group in Sacramento for an evaluation of your wage and hour claim.

Our employment law firm represents workers in the public and private sectors. Clients come to us from all backgrounds and industries — including restaurant and hotel workers, laborers, tech workers, and high-level managers. Attorney Natalia Asbill has the experience to stand up against even the most powerful corporations.

Our firm represents employees in claims involving all manner of wage violations, such as:

  • Failure to pay minimum wage
  • Per diem wage violations
  • Unpaid overtime
  • Prevailing wage disputes
  • Failure to provide benefits
  • Vacation/paid time off violations
  • Failure to pay employees in a timely manner
  • Unpaid commissions or bonuses
  • Failure to pay you for being “on-call”
  • Failure to provide pay stubs or wage statements

California Overtime Pay Disputes: Sacramento Employment Attorney

California employment law is strict about overtime. If your position qualifies for overtime, you are entitled to time-and-a-half pay for work beyond the normal eight-hour workday or 40-hour workweek. In some instances, you may even be entitled to double your normal pay.

You have the right to fair compensation under both federal and state law. Knowing your rights as an employee can help ensure that you are paid by your employer correctly and fairly for the overtime that you work.

Who Is Entitled To Overtime?

The Fair Labor Standards Act and the California Labor Code work together to regulate the California minimum wage, California overtime wages, and California overtime eligibility. According to these laws, your employer must pay you overtime rates if you work over 40 hours per week, whether they authorized the work or not.

However, there are cases that are carved out by law that are not required to pay overtime wages. In these cases, whether you qualify for overtime depends on your job — not whether you are paid on an hourly or salaried basis. Certain positions are exempt from overtime requirements. Examples include the following:

  • Executive exemption – Management roles
  • Administrative exemption – Some office workers, such as loan officers
  • Inside sales exemption – Workers earning substantial commissions and a base pay that is one-and-a-half times the California minimum wage
  • Outside sales exemption – Workers spending more than 50 percent of their time working away from the employer’s place of business
  • Computer sales professionals exemptions – Computer professionals working in creative environments
  • Professional exemption – Licensed professionals such as physicians, architects and educators
  • Commercial fishing boat crew members
  • Union employees
  • Criminal investigators
  • Some government employees
  • Relatives of the employer
  • Volunteers

How Much is Overtime Pay in California?

The standard rate of overtime pay in California is one-and-a-half times the normal rate of pay for that employee. In some instances, double pay may be required if a California employee works more than 12 hours in any day or more than eight hours in the seventh consecutive day of work.

Travel Time Overtime Laws in California

While workers are not entitled to overtime pay for commutes to and from work, if your employer requires you to use company-provided transit to a separate worksite, those hours will count towards your workday hours. If your time traveling on a company-provided transit then exceeds what is required under law to work, you can receive overtime pay for those hours.

Additionally, if you travel as part of your employment, and regularly travel to different locations, the travel time will be considered as employment hours for purposes of overtime pay. However, it is important to note that any time spent relaxing, eating, sleeping in a hotel or other activities that are not work-related will not be considered as part of the working hours that are eligible for overtime pay.

Also, if there is some emergency or unique circumstance that requires an employee to travel to and from a worksite that would take additional time, these hours may be considered as part of overtime pay.

Common Overtime Pay Issues in California – Have You Been Wrongfully Denied?

Employers sometimes try to save money by refusing to pay overtime. There are various ways they might violate state and federal overtime law.

Perhaps your employer misclassified your job as an exempt position when, in fact, your job is nonexempt.

Perhaps you are told to clock out before working extra hours; or maybe your employer doesn’t keep track of your hours.

Perhaps your employer gives you “comp time” instead of overtime pay. Or maybe your employer fails to compensate you for work-required travel.

Any of these scenarios might be overtime violations. The most common overtime pay issues in California are as follows:

  • Unauthorized overtime. Employers are still required to pay overtime pay even if the overtime hours were unauthorized.
  • Comp time. An employer is not allowed to substitute comp hours for overtime pay. However, an employee can request comp time in lieu of overtime pay, if certain conditions are met including a written agreement before the work is performed, the employee does not have more than 240 hours of comp time saved, and the employee is regularly scheduled for no less than a 40-hour workweek.
  • Missed meal breaks. Employees who work through a meal break must be paid, even if it ultimately ends up that doing so would put that employee into an overtime pay status.
  • Off-the-clock work. Anytime an employee is working for the employer it is considered a working hour. Preparing for a shop to open, changing into a special uniform, or customer service representatives who have to stay on a phone call even though their shift is over, are all examples of off-the-clock work that will still need to be reimbursed as working hours, even if it puts that employee into an overtime status for pay.
  • On-call time. There are some instances where an employer has a substantial ability to exercise control over the leisure time of an employee when they are off-duty. For example, if an employer has an employee on-call during a specific period of time where they are required to either come into work or do work from home immediately, those are all considered working hours.
  • Mandatory overtime. Any overtime that is mandatory will be considered for overtime pay. It is important to note that an employee may refuse to work overtime if they have worked 72 hours or more in the previous week.
  • Misleading job titles. An employer cannot simply assign an employee a specific job in order to avoid paying overtime. Labeling an employee as a non-manager, when they have all of the duties of a manager, is misclassification of an employee, and is a violation of the law.

Protecting Your Right To Fair Compensation

Do you suspect you have been wrongfully denied overtime pay? Talk to us before filing a claim with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE). At Asbill Law Group, an employment law firm in Sacramento, we represent employees in overtime pay disputes. Our clients include hourly and salaried workers across many industries.

We believe you have the right to fair compensation in accordance with the law. We can help you enforce your right to overtime pay. You might be entitled to additional compensation as a penalty against your employer. We will evaluate your outlook based on your job situation.

Standing Up for Employees’ Rights to a Fair and Honest Wage

The Sacramento law firm of Asbill Law Group represents workers in central and northern California who are engaged in a wage and hour dispute with their employers. Employees who have a complaint regarding unpaid wages, unpaid overtime, failure to give break time, missed meal breaks, or minimum wage violations have the option of seeking help directly from the California Labor Commission directly or hiring a lawyer to pursue a claim in a wage and hour dispute. Which option is best for you?

Unfortunately, there is not a simple answer to this question. The best course of action is largely dependent upon the specifics of your case. Additionally, wage and hour guidelines are very complicated and are specific to different categories of worker.

Attorney Natalia Asbill of Asbill Law Group will walk you through the guidelines that apply in your case in order to evaluate your options in seeking compensation for any wage and hour violations. Contact our firm today to schedule an informative and confidential consultation.

What Compensation is Available in a Wage and Hour Dispute?

If you are successful in a claim against an employer, you may be entitled to receive the fair wages you were denied. In addition, you may be eligible to receive additional money in the form of penalties and interest paid by your employer. In many successful cases, employers are also required to pay the claimants’ legal fees.

With twelve years of employment law experience, Natalia Asbill knows how to work through the intricacies of the California Labor Code, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and other applicable law. Let our legal team stand by your side in challenging unfair wage practices. To get started, arrange a confidential consultation by calling 916-438-7777.