Wage and Hour ViolationsLitigation: It's What We Do.
Calabasas Wage and Hour Attorneys
Our CA Lawyers Have Proven Results!
Our experienced lawyers at Gaines & Gaines focus on employment-related disputes, with special emphasis on wage and hour lawsuits and wage and hour class actions.
California employers routinely disregard the extensive labor laws that protect employees’ rights, such as:
- Violations of minimum wage
- Misclassification of employees
- Unlawful wage deductions
- And more
Our firm of Calabasas wage and hour lawyers can help you build a strong case for legal action if your rights as an employee have been infringed upon.
What Are California’s Minimum Wage Rates?
In California, the minimum wage for all industries is increased yearly. Almost all employers are legally required to pay their employees the minimum wage by state law, according to the California Minimum Wage Rate.
January 1, 2020
- Minimum Wage for Employers with 25 Employees or Less = $12.00/hour
- Minimum Wage for Employers with 26 Employees or More = $13.00/hour
January 1, 2021
- Minimum Wage for Employers with 25 Employees or Less = $13.00/hour
- Minimum Wage for Employers with 26 Employees or More = $14.00/hour
January 1, 2022
- Minimum Wage for Employers with 25 Employees or Less = $14.00/hour
- Minimum Wage for Employers with 26 Employees or More = $15.00/hour
Note that there are some exceptions to minimum wage requirements, including for initial training periods, certain family members (spouses, children, parents), as well as for some positions like outside salespeople.
What Are Misclassified Employees?
For legal purposes, there are a variety of statuses, titles, and types of employees that may impact how taxes are withheld, as well as the benefits available to the position.
Unfortunately, there are instances when workers may be misclassified, which impacts their wages and work hours:
- Misclassifying employees as “managers” or “assistant managers”
- Misclassifying employees as “independent contractors”
- Employers might improperly classify their employees to avoid paying payroll taxes, minimum wage, and overtime. There are also other employee rights involved with misclassification, such as meal breaks, rest breaks, expense reimbursement, etc.
- Misclassifying employees as “nonexempt”
- Employers may classify employees as “nonexempt” and change their pay structure without paying back wages and hours worked. This could affect an employee’s rights to minimum wage, overtime pay, and more.
Note that there is no set definition for “independent contractor,” though some common identifying factors provided by CA.gov include:
- Whether a service rendered requires a special skill
- Whether the principal or the worker supplies the instrumentalities, tools, and the place for the person doing the work
- Method of payment, whether by time or by the job
- The length of time for which the services are to be performed
- The degree of permanence of the working relationship
Why Do Employers Misclassify Employees?
Employers might misclassify employees to:
- Avoid paying overtime
- Providing meal and rest breaks
- And covering workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance
If you think you have been misclassified, please schedule a consultation with our wage and hour attorneys to discuss your next legal steps.
Common Examples of Wage and Hour Violations
Some common examples of wage and hour violations in California include:
- Meal & Rest Break Violations: Employers cannot require employees to work through meal and rest breaks or deny their rest breaks. Learn more about your meal and rest break rights here.
- Expense Reimbursement: Employers sometimes make unlawful deductions from employees’ wages for items such as cell phones, tools, or chargebacks. California Labor Code Section 2802, however, requires employers to reimburse employees for all necessary expenses incurred during their duties.
- Commissioned Employees: If an employee makes no sales, they are still entitled to minimum wage and overtime for the hours worked. Note that there may be some exceptions applied, such as “outside salesperson.”
Other Common Wage and Hour Violations in California
Our wage and hour attorneys at Gaines & Gaines also encounter wage violations upon termination like:
- Signing Void Releases: Employers can never force an employee to sign documents and releases. However, there could be situations where employees are asked to sign severance or any other releases. Beware of terms and conditions you are presented when signing, some releases may be void.
- Withholding Pay After Termination: According to Labor Code Sections 201 and 227.3, terminated employees are still entitled to their compensation for sick and vacation pay on time. Failing to pay wages owed upon termination will subject employers to additional liability, including a “waiting time penalty” of up to 30 days until all unpaid wages are paid in full.
Before Filing a Wage Claim
California’s labor laws protect all workers, regardless of immigration status.
Here are a few important tips before filing your claim:
- Gather facts and documents for the claim (e.g., your working hours and pay as reflected on your pay stub or another record)
- File within 3 years of the violation of minimum wage, overtime, illegal deductions from pay, etc. because the statute of limitations for these cases is 3 years
Contact our experienced attorneys at Gaines & Gaines who specialize in wage and hour claims. We will walk you through the filing process, ensure you have all supporting evidence and required documentation, and get the compensation you are owed.
Frequently Asked Questions
I am an undocumented immigrant. Does the law still protect my right to fair pay?
- Undocumented workers generally have the same wage and hour rights as other workers; the same federal and California wage and hour laws that apply to authorized workers generally apply to employees working without legal immigration status. An employer cannot refuse to pay you by saying that you should not have been working in the first place because of your legal status.
What happens if my company can’t make payroll?
- California has several laws requiring employers to timely pay employees for all work performed – generally, you must be paid at least twice during each calendar month.
- California Labor Code Section 204(a). Work performed between the 1st and 15th of the month must be paid on regular paydays between the 16th and 26th of the month, while work performed between the 16th and end of the month must be paid between the 1st and 10th of the following month.
- California Labor Code Section 204(a). Wages for overtime work must be paid no later than the next regular payroll wage.
- California Labor Code Section 204(b)(1). If an employer fails to pay its employees all wages earned, it may likely owe its employees their wages and penalties.
How do I complain if my pay is less than California state minimum wage?
- The best way to take legal action is to have an attorney investigate the way that you are being paid. A lawyer can easily assess whether you are being paid correctly by reviewing your wage statements.
The above are just some of the wage and hour violation examples. Visit our FAQ page for other commonly asked questions, and do not hesitate to contact Gaines & Gaines if you believe your employee rights have been compromised.