If your employer is not paying you overtime pay for overtime worked, you should speak to an attorney about your legal rights. If your employer isn’t paying you for all the hours you worked, or only pays you for some of your overtime hours at the premium rate, or makes you punch out and work off the clock before going home for the day, you should call our offices to discuss your claims with an attorney.
Paying employees the wages they earned is not optional. Under California law, employers have specific obligations to pay employees correctly for all hours worked, including all overtime hours worked at the correct overtime rate. If an employer is not doing so, they’re in violation of the Labor Code. In an action against such an employer, an employee can recover lost earning as damages, as well as costs and reasonable attorney’s fees.
Employers must pay all non-exempt employees an overtime premium for all hours worked in excess of 8 hours in any given workday, and for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a given work week. Overtime is compensated at a rate one-and-a-half times the employee’s regular rate of pay. For example, if you earn $14 per hour, your overtime premium rate is half that again, or an additional $7 per hour, for a total overtime compensation rate of $21 per hour. Every hour worked in excess of 8 in a workday or after 40 in a given workweek must be compensated at $21 per hour in this example.
There are some different rules that apply depending upon the industry in which you work, and whether you’re classified as exempt or non-exempt can complicate matters (including whether your employer has properly classified you), so it’s a good idea to consult with an attorney experienced in wage and hour law to better understand whether any Labor Code violations have occurred. You can find just such an attorney at the Law Offices of Matthew G. English. Give us a call or visit our contact page and use our charmingly unsophisticated inquiry form to send us an email with your question.
Meal & Rest Breaks
As a California employee, you are also entitled to a 30-minute (off-the-clock) lunch/meal break during each shift and typically one 10-minute (on-the-clock) rest break per four hours worked. Significant penalties can attach if your employer does not permit you to take these breaks. In addition, if you are forced to work through your lunch break and are otherwise working an 8 hour day, the working lunch can effect when you’re entitled to your overtime premium.
Different rules and exceptions may apply to specific industries, so consult an attorney if you suspect you may not be receiving all of the compensation to which you are entitled, or if you’re not allowed or your employer is otherwise preventing you from taking meal and rest breaks. The Law Offices of Matthew G. English can help you analyze your potential claims. We offer a free initial consultation to help you get started. Call us today.
Relevant Labor Code Sections
Don’t take our word for it. Read the California Labor Code sections for yourself and decide. Then call us.
(a) Eight hours of labor constitutes a day’s work. Any work in excess of eight hours in one workday and any work in excess of 40 hours in any one workweek and the first eight hours worked on the seventh day of work in any one workweek shall be compensated at the rate of no less than one and one–half times the regular rate of pay for an employee. Any work in excess of 12 hours in one day shall be compensated at the rate of no less than twice the regular rate of pay for an employee. In addition, any work in excess of eight hours on any seventh day of a workweek shall be compensated at the rate of no less than twice the regular rate of pay of an employee. Nothing in this section requires an employer to combine more than one rate of overtime compensation in order to calculate the amount to be paid to an employee for any hour of overtime work.
(Lab. Code, § 510.)
(a) Notwithstanding any agreement to work for a lesser wage, any employee receiving less than the legal minimum wage or the legal overtime compensation applicable to the employee is entitled to recover in a civil action the unpaid balance of the full amount of this minimum wage or overtime compensation, including interest thereon, reasonable attorney’s fees, and costs of suit.
(Lab. Code, § 1194.)