Wage and Hour Violations
Finding the perfect job is a dream for many, and sticking to it takes hard work and dedication. However, employee mistreatment is a common occurrence in the workplace. One of the most common ways employers mistreat their employees is through wage and hour violations.
If you suspect that your employer has violated your wage rights, you may be eligible to take legal action to recover the proper compensation you are owed. An experienced wage and hour attorney can help you navigate this complicated process and offer the best solutions for you to win your case.
At the California Institute of Fair Employment, our experienced wage and hour lawyers can help get you the justice you deserve.
Do you believe that your employer violated the law?
Examples of Wage and Hour Violations
There are many various types of wage and hour violations to consider. The following are some of the situations wherein you may be entitled to compensation:
- Your employer has not paid the minimum wage requirements mandated by state or local law.
- Your employer neglected to pay you for all your time working. There may come a time wherein your employer will require you to provide tasks and services before or after regular working hours or require employees to respond to work calls and messages while off the clock.
- You were not paid for overtime hours.
- You were denied timely meal breaks that were at least 30 minutes long and completely free of all work duties and tasks. If you are not provided with a fully adequate meal break, you are entitled to an hour of pay.
- Your employer failed to provide you with completely off-duty rest breaks every five hours of work (or a major fraction thereof). You have the right to be compensated for one hour of pay for each day you are not provided with fully compliant rest breaks.
- You were not paid for your time spent in training or staff meetings as a commissioned or piece employee.
- Your employer requires you to shoulder the cost of any work-related or business expenses, such as your phone bill or mileage and fails to provide you with the appropriate tools.
- You are a sales employee and your boss fails to pay your sales commission and commissions not included in overtime rates.
If any of these happened to you, do not hesitate to contact us for a free, 100% confidential case consultation. Having a wage and hour attorney by your side is in your best interest to recover the financial compensation you deserve.
California Wage and Hour Laws
As previously mentioned, victims of wage violations and disputes are plenty. This is where a wage and hour attorney who knows the Federal and California wage and hour laws come in handy.
A wage and hour attorney is keenly aware of the laws designed to protect workers’ rights, especially here in California – which boasts some of the most comprehensive protection of workers in America.
The following are a few examples of these wage and hour laws and expanded protections:
As of January 1, 2021, the current minimum wage laws in California state that workers employed by companies with 25 employees or less are entitled to a $14 per hour minimum wage, while those working for larger companies may earn a minimum of $15 hourly.
Employers group employees into three distinct categories:
- Independent contractors – As independent contractors, they possess the power to dictate their own business hours, work locations, and other relevant matters. Moreover, they are compensated as per timelines or on a project-by-project basis.
- Exempt employees – Employees that are classified as “exempt” are free from federal and state laws regarding overtime wages, minimum wage obligations, and employer timekeeping.
- Nonexempt employees – California employees, unless they comply with particular criteria to acquire exempt status, are usually “nonexempt” and consequently entitled to benefits such as overtime pay and minimum wages.
Some employers misclassify their employees and independent contractors. Unfair employers who purposefully misclassify their employees in order to avoid paying overtime and other company benefits may face severe penalties.
Meal and Rest Periods/Breaks
California labor law mandates that non-exempt employees who have been working for more than five hours in a single shift must be given a meal break of at least half an hour. An employer must also provide a meal break no later than the fifth working hour.
Expanded Leave Protections/Paid Leave
1. Leave to Care for “Designated Person”
As of January 1, 2023, all qualified employees are eligible to receive leave under California’s Family Rights Act (CFRA) and sick time under the state Labor Code in order to tend for a “designated person.” Under the CFRA, any individual related to an employee by either blood or other form of association that would equate it to a familial relationship is considered a “designated person.”
2. Bereavement Leave
Employers with five or more employees must provide eligible staff members with a minimum of five days off due to the death of their family member. This leave can be spread out over time and applies to spouses, children, parents, siblings, and domestic partners/partners-in-law, such as grandparents and grandchildren.
Eligible employees must have been employed at the company for at least 30 days before the start of their bereavement period. Furthermore, this time off should not exceed three months from the date of passing.
If there is an existing bereavement leave policy in place, employees can take advantage of the paid days provided as well as any additional unpaid days to fulfill their five-day mandate. On the other hand, if no such policy exists, then those mandated five days will be done without pay.
What Is the Time Limit For Recovering Unpaid Wages?
Depending on the factors of your circumstances, you may have up to four years to file a claim for unpaid wages. If your current or past employer has failed to pay you the hourly wages you are owed, you may be entitled to file an unpaid wage claim against them. To find out whether or not you have a valid claim, contact the Labor Law Advocates today! Our wage and hour attorneys can help you with your wage and hour claim.
Understanding the Importance of Timely Claims
One of the most crucial things to keep in mind when considering filing a claim for unpaid wages is the concept of time. Statutes of limitations, which set a maximum time after an event within which legal proceedings may be initiated, exist to ensure that claims are made while evidence is still fresh and relevant. Over time, documentation can be lost, memories can fade, and witnesses can become unavailable. In cases of unpaid wages, prompt action not only helps preserve evidence but also ensures that you recover your rightfully earned money sooner rather than later.
Protecting Your Rights as an Employee
Every worker has the right to receive fair compensation for their labor. It’s more than just a matter of legalities; it’s a matter of ethical business practices. Employers who intentionally or negligently fail to pay their employees proper wages undermine the trust and wellbeing of their workforce. As an employee, taking steps to recover unpaid wages not only helps you personally but also serves as a precedent, sending a message to employers that such practices will not be tolerated. Consulting with knowledgeable attorneys, like those at the Labor Law Advocates, ensures that you navigate the complex legal landscape with expertise and confidence, ensuring the best possible outcome for your case. Remember, every day you wait is a day you might be moving further from the justice you deserve.
The Broader Implications of Unpaid Wages
Beyond the immediate financial impact on the individual, the issue of unpaid wages carries significant societal implications. When employers withhold rightful wages, it contributes to economic disparities and can perpetuate cycles of poverty.
Additionally, businesses that avoid paying their workers fairly create an uneven playing field, making it more challenging for ethical companies to compete. By standing up against wage violations and seeking what you are owed, you not only benefit yourself but also support the broader community. It’s a move towards a more equitable workplace, where everyone is compensated fairly for their contributions and efforts.
How Can a Wage and Hour Attorney Help?
Our skilled wage and hour lawyers are dedicated to helping wronged employees get compensation for hours worked. Once you have a wage and hour attorney by your side, here are some of the things they may be able to do for you:
- File an individual claim or lawsuit against your employer or former employer for you.
- Begin a class action lawsuit if other employees have also been denied fair wages as you were.
At the Labor Law Advocates, our wage and hour attorneys have the needed experience to help those in need file a valid unpaid wage claim. We can offer you the legal advice you need and aid you in navigating this complicated process.
If you or a loved one suspect that their wages were wrongfully withheld, you must hold these employers accountable. Our attorneys possess the skills and knowledge to confront employers, big or small, and ensure that your rights are not trampled upon. In addition, having a legal expert in wage and hour laws can also educate you on your rights, ensuring that you are well-informed and prepared for future employment situations. With us by your side, you’re not just fighting for your owed wages; you’re setting a precedent for all employees to be treated fairly and justly.