My Employer Pays Me Straight-Time Pay for Overtime Hours That I Work. Can I Recover Overtime Wages and Penalties?
In the vast majority of employment situations in California, overtime must be paid to employees when they work over eight (8) hours in one day or over forty (40) hours in one week. It is unlawful for an employer to not pay overtime wages for overtime work performed. All situations could be different, so contact a wage lawyer now for a free consultation and for specific advice about your case.
If the employer pays the employee his or her normal hourly rate of pay for overtime hours worked, then the employee may bring a wage claim for unpaid overtime against the employer. The employee’s claim would be for the difference between what he or she should have been paid and what he or she actually received. Here’s an example:
Employee earns $10 per hour. Employee works 49 hours in one week. Employer pays employee $490 in total for that week. But employee worked 9 hours of overtime (49 total hours – 40 = 9 overtime hours). Employee should have been paid time-and-a-half for those 9 hours of OT. Employee’s pay should have looked like this: (40 regular hours x $10 per hour) + (9 overtime hours at $15 an hour) = ($400) + ($135) = $535. Employee can recover a total of $45 in unpaid wages for that week ($535 earned – $490 paid = $45.
If an employer pays regular pay for overtime hours, the employee may also try to recover a penalty under Labor Code section 203. This penalty is equal to 30 days of wages. In order to win on the penalty claim, the employee must show that the employer “willfully” failed to pay wages. The fact that the employer paid regular pay for overtime hours is very likely to show that the employer was trying to pay less than the mandated overtime rate in order to save money. This should show that the employer acted willfully, which should entitle the employee to the penalty.
If you believe you are entitled to be paid for, contact Strauss & Strauss APC now. We handle unpaid overtime wage cases every day, and we have a strong record of recovering unpaid wages and penalties for our clients. We represent employees all over California. Contact us now for a evaluation.