Understanding Wage And Hour Laws

The Law Offices of Stephen M. Harris, P.C., fights hard for employees who have been taken advantage of by their employers. We handle individual claims and wage and hour class action lawsuits involving employer violations throughout California.

Wage And Hour

The labor laws in California are protective of the rights of employees — and for good reason. California's public policy requires employers to provide fair and lawful wages, and to be held responsible for the failure to comply with wage and hour laws, because it benefits the working public and California's economy to make sure that employees are treated fairly. For proven violations, California's labor laws provide for the payment of penalties and other damages in addition to unpaid wages. Many employers attempt to wrongfully classify employees as independent contractors, or as exempt, in order to avoid responsibility for paying minimum wage, overtime, or providing rest or meal breaks or other incidents of employment. If you are suspicious that this may have happened to you, please contact us as discussed below.

Minimum Wage Laws

Federal and state laws require that your employer pays you minimum wages and, in many cases, overtime wages. While the federal minimum wage covered for nonexempt employees is $7.25/hour, California employees are entitled to be paid at least $9/hour, effective July 1, 2014. The California minimum wage will increase to $10/hour effective January 1, 2016. If you are not being paid the current minimum wage, your employer may have violated these laws, and you may be entitled to damages.

Note: Tips and gratuities cannot be counted by employers toward the minimum wage payment owed under law. Employers must pay you the full minimum wage of $9/hour, regardless of how much you earn in tips.

Overtime Laws

Under both state and federal law, employees must receive overtime pay (1.5 times the regular hourly rate) for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek (or in excess of 8 hours in a workday under state law) and in some circumstances employees are entitled to 2 times their rate of pay, unless their job duties qualify them as "exempt" from overtime provisions. If you are an hourly employee you most likely qualify as "nonexempt." If you are paid a salary instead of an hourly wage, you may still be entitled to overtime wages. Your job duties and responsibilities determine if you must be paid overtime, not your job title or salary status.

Meal And Rest Breaks

Employers must provide employees with an opportunity to take meal and rest breaks. In California, an employee must be permitted to take an uninterrupted 30-minute meal break and two 10-minute rest breaks per eight-hour shift. During these meal and rest breaks the employer must relieve the employee of all duties during those breaks. Employers who fail to provide employees with an opportunity to take uninterrupted meal and rest breaks may be liable for up to two hours a day of premium pay at the employee's hourly rate.

Contact An Experienced Wage And Hour Attorney

If you have a California wage dispute claim, contact the Law Offices of Stephen M. Harris, P.C., to set up your free initial consultation. You can reach our Woodland Hills office by calling 888-888-888. You may also complete our online contact form.