Do you believe that you are unlawfully underpaid? It might surprise you to know that many California employees face this exact issue, but they don’t know what to do to change their circumstances. Working with an experienced employment law attorney is critical to understanding your legal options.
Common Wage & Hour Violations
How do employers typically violate the law? The most common wage and hour violations are unpaid overtime and failing to provide employees with meal and rest breaks.
In most states, an employee must work more than 40 hours in a work week before qualifying for overtime pay. This is true in California too. However, California differs from many other states because most employees are entitled to an overtime rate of 1.5 times the regular rate of pay if the employee works more than 40 hours in a week OR more than 8 hours in a single workday. If your California employer fails to pay you this overtime rate, you are losing a substantial amount of money!
Additionally, California employees who work more than 12 hours in a workday are entitled to receive DOUBLE their regular rate of pay. Further, an employee who works more than 8 hours on the seventh consecutive day in a workweek is also entitled to double their regular rate of pay. In other words, if you work 7 days straight, your employer must pay you 1.5 times your base rate for the first 8 hours of your 7th workday, then double your base rate for any hours worked in excess of 8 hours on that 7th workday! To see an example of how this could impact your pay, please read our blog titled “Employment – Overtime Rate of Pay.”
Meal and Rest Breaks
Employers may fail to provide their California employees with legally required meal and rest breaks. Below are a few guidelines for determining if your rights are being violated:
- A nonexempt employee is entitled to a paid 10-minute rest break for every 4-hours the employee is working
- To be legally compliant, a rest break must be free from any work-related duties
- If rest breaks are no allowed by your employer, you should receive an additional full hour of pay for every day that you were not provided a legally compliant rest break
- If a nonexempt employee works more than 5 hours in a day, a meal break of at least 30 minutes must be provided
- The meal break must be allowed prior to the 5th hour of work
- If the employee works more than 10 hours in a workday, and additional meal break of at least 30 minutes must be provided
It is important to note that if you are an on-call worker, you are vulnerable to rest and meal break violations.
If you have questions regarding wage and hour violations, it is imperative that you contact an attorney who is experienced in handling California employment law cases. Calculating overtime rate of pay can be complicated, but we are here to help. Call the Law Office of Alex Cha & Associates today.