The purpose of the overtime pay is obvious. First, overtime encourages an employer to reduce amount of hours worked or hire more employees. Second, overtime ensures that employees are compensated fairly for the burden of working long hours. Unfortunately, California employers fail to pay overtime quite frequently. Rather than hiring an extra helping hand or simply paying the employee what he or she is owed, some employers would rather violate law in order to save a few bucks. That’s why employment lawyers spend a lot of time litigating overtime cases.
California Overtime Law
Under California law, employees are generally entitled to overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours per week or more than eight hours in one day. This is unlike federal law, where employees are entitled to overtime pay only if they work more than 40 hours per week, regardless of the amount of hours worked on any given single day.
Under both federal and California law, if an employee works overtime, then the employer must pay the employee one and a half times an employee’s regular rate. For example, if Mark the Mechanic is paid $12.00 per hour, but works 42 hours in a given week, then his rate of pay for those 2 overtime hours is $18.00 per hour instead of $12.00 per hour. If he has not been paid the correct amount, he can hire a wage & hour lawyer.
Overtime Case Example – Atempa v. Pama
Atempa is a 2015 case out of the Superior Court of San Diego County and Judge Joel Wohlfeil’s courtroom. Plaintiffs, Marco Atempa and Keilyn Reyes, were employees of defendant, an Italian restaurant. During their employment, Defendant would alter the employees’ time sheets and essentially cut the hours its employees worked every pay period. In doing this, Defendant would avoid compensating its employees for overtime pay and thus save money. Eventually, employees began to notice the time being cut from their paychecks. Plaintiffs, a cook and a dishwasher, sued Defendant on behalf of over 70 harmed employees. After an eight day bench trial, the court ruled in favor of the Plaintiffs. The amount awarded was just under $300,000.
Wage and Hour Attorney Help Recover Unpaid Overtime
Unfortunately, what happened to the Plaintiffs in Atempa is fairly common. Our firm receives calls almost every week of employers who fail to compensate their employees properly for overtime hours worked. Sadly, employers all too often try to take advantage of their employees in an effort to save money. But at the end of the day, the employer risks significant legal liability by doing this, and if brought to court will end up paying out more than if they just simply paid their employees properly to begin with. If you feel your employer is not compensating you properly, call an attorney immediately.