Employers often withhold wages from employees by failing to pay them for all overtime hours. Some employers do this blatantly, some do it is subtle ways that most employees hardly notice. Our Orange County attorneys litigate class actions on behalf of groups of employees who have been denied overtime pay in the same way.
According to the California Labor Code, an employer must pay 1½ times the employees regular wage after 8 hours worked in a day and after 40 hours worked in a week for all non-exempt employees. This is the law. It is not discretionary.
Overtime Violations Suitable for Class Actions
Misclassified as Exempt or Salaried – “White collar” workers employed in a executive, administrative, or professional capacity are exempt from overtime and minimum wage requirements. However, sometimes employees are wrongfully lumped into one of these categories when the law demands they get paid by the hour. When an employee has been working overtime hours while misclassified as exempt, they may be owed substantial overtime wages.
Off the Clock Work – Employers must compensate employees for “off-the-clock” work (before punching in or after punching out). Many employers have policies and procedures in which employees must arrive 15 minutes early to work. Other employers have common policies where employees must clock out of their shifts but cannot leave until after certain tasks have been completed – all off the clock. We have recently seen some employers forcing their employees to read promotional emails, post information on Facebook, update Twitter accounts, all while off the clock.
Automatic Deduction of Lunch Break Time – Some employers automatically deduct 30 minutes of time from their employees time worked to account for a meal break. However, sometimes these companies also force their employees to skip their lunch break. In essence, the employer is simply deducting 30 minutes of pay each day.
Improper Overtime Rate – All non-discretionary pay must be factored into the overtime rate. For example, nurses who get paid an extra dollar per hour for working certain shifts. That extra amount has to be factored into the hourly rate for overtime and premiums. We have a case where bellmen are paid a portion of service charges in addition to their regular pay, and this was not included in OT rate.
Straight Time Only – Some employers simply pay their employees the flat hourly wage regardless of how many hours the employee has worked. For example, suppose an employee works 60 hours in a week. Normally, the employee is supposed to get paid 40 hours at their normal hourly wage, and 20 hours at the overtime rate. However, some employers simply pay all 60 hours at their normal hourly wage. This is illegal and great for class actions.
Basic California Overtime Laws
- Employees shall not be employed more than eight (8) hours in any workday or more than 40 hours in any workweek unless the employee receives one and one-half (11/2) times such employee’s regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 hours in the workweek.
- Eight (8) hours of labor constitutes a day’s work. Employment beyond eight (8) hours in any workday or more than six (6) days in any workweek is permissible provided the employee is compensated for such overtime at not less than:
- (a) One and one-half (1-1/2) times the employee’s regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of eight (8) hours up to and including 12 hours in any workday, and for the first eight (8) hours worked on the seventh (7th) consecutive day of work in a workweek; and
- (b) Double the employee’s regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 12 hours in any workday and for all hours worked in excess of eight (8) hours on the seventh (7th) consecutive day of work in a workweek.
- (c) The overtime rate of compensation required to be paid to a nonexempt full-time salaried employee shall be computed by using the employee’s regular hourly salary as one-fortieth (1/40) of the employee’s weekly salary.