Eisenberg Law Group

Wage and Hour
Violations

Wage and Hour

As an employee, you have the right to be paid the proper amount, on time, and without any deceptive or unfair calculations by your employer.  Fortunately, both California and federal law protect employees from employers that fail to pay their employees fully and fairly.

What is a Wage and Hour Case?

Wage and Hour is a broad area of employment law that encompasses all types of claims against employers that do not pay their employees properly.  Wage and Hour claims can involve the following:

  • Employer fails to pay an employee the minimum wage
  • Employer fails to pay an employee overtime wages
  • Employer fails to pay an employee for before-and-after-shift activities and for travel time between job sites
  • Employer misclassifies an employee as an independent contractor
  • Employer fails to provide an employee with sufficient rest and meal breaks
  • Employer fails to pay commissions or bonuses earned by the employee
  • Employer fails to reimburse the employee for work-related expenses
  • Employer fails to pay an employee on time
  • Employer fails to provide an employee with a proper accounting of his/her pay

If you are an employee that has experienced any of the above, please contact our office for a FREE, confidential, no obligation consultation.  We will gladly discuss your situation with you to see if you have a case.  This will cost you nothing out of pocket and will help you determine how you can protect your rights and your income.

What Law Governs Wage and Hour Cases?

The Fair Labor Standards Act provides the rules and regulations under federal law for employee compensation.  The Labor Code and Wage Orders provide the rules and regulations under California law for employee compensation.

Who is Afforded Protection Under Wage and Hour Laws?

Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, most employees are afforded protection under this law.  There are some important exceptions.  Independent contractors, however, are not protected by the Fair Labor Standards Act. 

Under the California Labor Code and Wage Orders, most employees are protected.  Similarly to federal law, independent contractors are not covered by the wage and hour laws.  Interestingly, under California law, the burden is placed on the business to prove that the worker is an independent contractor rather than an employee.  Therefore, the business must prove that the individual is an independent contractor and is not entitled to wage and hour protections.

How Do I Know What the Minimum Wage in California is?

The minimum wage is set forth in the California Minimum Wage Order provided by the Industrial Welfare Commission and Department of Industrial Relations. 

Beginning January 1, 2020, the minimum wage in California that must be paid by an employer with 26 or more employees is $13.00.

Beginning January 1, 2020, the minimum wage in California that must be paid by an employer with 25 or fewer employees is $12.00.

Moreover, California law requires that every employer keep a copy of the wage order posted in an area frequented by employees where it may be easily read during the work day. 

What Records are an Employer Required to Keep and For How Long?

Under federal law, every employer subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act must keep the following records for at least three years:

  • Payroll records, including each employee's name, address, occupation, hours worked each day and week, wages paid and date of payment, amounts earned as straight-time pay and overtime, and deductions;
  • Plans, trusts, employment contracts, collective bargaining agreements and written agreements;
  • Employee notices; and
  • Sales and purchase records

Under federal law, every employer subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act must keep the following records for at least two years:

  • Basic time and earnings cards, including work schedules;
  • Wage rate tables;
  • Order, shipping and billing records; and
  • Records of additions to or deductions from wages

Under California law, employers must keep the following records for at least two years:

  • The names and addresses of all employees;
  • The ages of any minors working; and
  • The daily hours worked and wages paid to all employees

Under California law, employers must keep the following records for at least three years:

  • Records showing wage deductions

Further, under California law, an employer must provide an employee or former employee copies of his or her payroll records within 21 days after a request, or permit the employee to inspect those records. Failure to comply results in a $750 fine, and the employee may sue to obtain the information and recover costs and fees.

What Information Must My Pay Stub Contain?

The following information must be furnished on the pay stub when wages are paid:

  • Employer's name and address;
  • Employee's name and the last four digits of the employee's Social Security number;
  • Inclusive dates for which the employee is being paid;
  • Gross wages earned;
  • The applicable hourly rate and total hours worked for nonexempt employees (for employees paid on a piece rate basis, the applicable piece rate and units earned);
  • All deductions;
  • Net wages earned; and
  • If the employer is a temporary services employer, the rate of pay and total hours worked for each temporary services assignment.

If an employer fails to provide the employee with the required information on the pay stub, the employee can bring a claim against the employer.

What Remedies are Available if My Employer Does Not Pay Me Properly?

Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, the employee can recover double the wages owed to him/her if the employer cannot prove that it acted in good faith.  Under California law, the employee can receive the wages owed to him/her plus “waiting time” penalties for “willful” withholding of wages.

  • “Waiting Time” Penalties- in addition to actual wages owed, you can collect “waiting time” penalties when the employer willfully fails to pay you your wages upon quitting or being discharged. Your wages continue at the same rate until they are paid, or until a lawsuit is filed, but not for more than 30 days. If you are discharged by your employer, all unpaid wages- including any unpaid overtime, are due immediately upon discharge. If you resign, all of your unpaid wages are due within 72 hours of your resignation.
  • Liquidated Damages- if you sue your employer because your employer paid you less than the minimum wage, you are entitled to recover liquidated damages in an amount equal to the wages unlawfully unpaid. Therefore, you can recover the difference between what you were paid and the minimum wage, multiplied by 2.
  • Civil Penalties- in certain unpaid wages cases, you have the right to sue your employer on behalf of yourself and the State of California. In those instances, you may have the right to recover significant civil penalties from your employer. If you are successful in recovering civil penalties from your employer, the court may award you 25% of the civil penalties, plus reasonable costs and attorney’s fees. The other 75% is awarded to the State of California.
  • Attorney’s fees and costs- when you are successful in an unpaid wages claim you are permitted to seek an award of reasonable attorney’s fees and costs.

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