Articles

Unpaid Wages

Employees work long hours for themselves and their families. Too often they are not paid in accordance with the law. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and California law both create various rights for employees concerning the payment for labor. These laws are complex and the following is simply a summary of some common principles. Exceptions and exemptions exist. A particular employee’s situation must be analyzed by a qualified attorney on a case-by-case basis to determine how the wage-and-hour laws uniquely apply.

Weekly Overtime And Daily Overtime

Both the FLSA and California law generally require a covered employer to pay overtime wages to a nonexempt employee if he or she works in excess of forty hours in a workweek. California law, however, also has requirements pertaining to daily overtime. If applicable, these laws require a covered employer to pay: (1) 1.5 times the employee’s regular rate of pay when he or she works more than eight hours in any workday; (2) double the regular rate of pay for hours worked in excess of 12 hours in any workday; and (3) double the regular rate for all hours worked in excess of eight hours on the seventh consecutive workday in a workweek.

Misclassified Salaried Employees

While both the FLSA and California law exempt certain employees from overtime requirements if specified criteria are met, some employers misclassify a nonexempt employee as “exempt” and improperly pay the employee a fixed salary for all hours worked. When this occurs, a “misclassified” employee in California that works more than eight hours per day, or more than forty per week, may be owed daily or weekly overtime wages. In these scenarios, California law states that the applicable overtime rate is computed by “using the employee’s regular hourly salary as one fortieth (1/40) of the employee’s weekly salary.”

Employees Misclassified Independent Contractors

Some employers also misclassify employees as “independent contractors” to avoid paying overtime wages and performing their other legal obligations such as: paying payroll taxes, paying minimum wages, providing meal periods and rest breaks, or reimbursing employees for business expenses (e.g., mileage, tools, etc.) California law requires employers to establish independent contractor status. Employee status may exist even when the worker receives a 1099 tax form or if he or she signed a purported “independent contractor” agreement.

Unpaid Wages

The California Labor Code has requirements to ensure that employees are promptly paid all wages. An employer’s willful violation of these laws can result in an employee receiving monetary “waiting-time” penalties up to an amount equal to thirty days of his or her wages.

Contact our office today to speak with a lawyer if you believe that you are owed overtime or any other wages or compensation from your employer.