What are wage and hour laws?

The California legislature and governors have passed hundreds of labor laws for California employees over the years that directly affect workers' wages, the number of hours they can work, conditions in the workplace, benefits, family and medical leave and the employment environment for both governmental and private sector employment.

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The wage and hour laws focus specifically on protections for workers in the following areas:

  • Minimum wage
  • Paydays
  • Pay periods
  • Overtime
  • Overtime exemptions
  • Commissions
  • Tips
  • Meal breaks
  • Rest breaks
  • Job classification
  • Off-the-clock work
  • Subcontractors

There are many reasons why an employer may stray from following the California wage and hour laws. In some cases, an employer may not realize that they are required to pay overtime for California employees that have worked more than eight hours in a day or 40 hours in a week, or they may not be aware of the requirements for exemption from overtime. In many cases, the employer may simply be looking to improve their bottom line and take advantage of workers who are unsure of their rights in the workplace.

There are a variety of wage-and-hour violations.

  • Failure to pay prevailing wages
  • Failure to properly calculate overtime for certain commissions
  • Failure to reimburse for business related expenses
  • Failure to pay all wages owed upon quitting or termination
  • Denying meal or rest breaks
  • Alternative workweek

Some of the most common are the failure to pay wages or commissions, paying less than the minimum wage, and failing to pay overtime for hours worked over eight hours in a day, or over 40 hours in a week. Employers may also ask employees to work before or after they have clocked out, which is against the law in California.

Some employers try to circumvent the wage and hour overtime laws by classifying employees as independent contractors or as exempt employees. When an employer knowingly treats a single employee unfairly, it often is indicative of the company's culture and they usually treat many others in the same manner.

When a company has a culture of trying to get around the wage and hour laws it is often necessary to file a class action lawsuit as a large number of employees have experienced the same treatment and it is beneficial to group together smaller claims many of which would be too small to fight on their own.

If you have been denied overtime or paid less than the law requires, our wage and hour attorneys may be able to help. To find out if we can help you recover compensation for unpaid wages, please fill out our free case review form today.

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