Wage and Hour
The Law Offices of Stephen M. Harris, P.C., fights hard for employees who have been taken advantage of by their employers. Our attorneys handle individual claims and wage and hour class action lawsuits involving employer violations throughout California.
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 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 pay you minimum wages and, in many cases, overtime wages. While the federal minimum wage for covered non-exempt employees is $7.25/hour, California employees are entitled to be paid at least $9.00/hour, effective July 1, 2014. The California minimum wage will increase to $10.00/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 towards the minimum wage payment owed under law. Employers must pay you the full minimum wage of $9.00/hour, regardless of how much you earn in tips.
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 work week (or in excess of 8 hours in a work day under state law) and in some circumstances employees are entitled to 2.0 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 “non-exempt.” 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 2 ten minute rest breaks per 8 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 2 hours a day of premium pay at the employee’s hourly rate.
If you have a California wage dispute claim, contact the Law Offices of Stephen M. Harris, P.C., to set up a consultation by calling (818) 924-3103.