You deserve to be fairly paid for your work, especially if you are subject to long hours. Some employers will attempt to misclassify non-exempt employees as exempt or as independent contractors to avoid having to provide benefits, overtime compensation, and other benefits.
Our California wage claims lawyers at Strauss & Strauss, APC can help you recover what you are owed. We have experience assisting clients with cases involving unpaid overtime, unpaid accrued vacation, denied meal periods, and more. Our team has recovered more than $100 million in damages for our California clients over the past decade and is ready to put our experience to work for you.
Civil Litigation Experience
Many associate wage claims with unpaid overtime or subminimum wages. You may also have a wage claim if your employer denies you meal or rest breaks, refuses to pay out accrued vacation, or refuses to reimburse you for necessary business expenses.
Wage claims can be filed with California’s Labor Commissioner. In some cases, it may be prudent to pursue civil litigation against an employer that refuses to pay what you are owed. You may also be able to secure additional damages.
Our California wage claims attorneys can assist you with cases involving:
- Resident Apartment Managers. Resident apartment managers must be paid at California minimum wage for all hours worked. They are also entitled to overtime and double-time pay when they work in excess of 8 and 12 hours per day, respectively. Any flat rate or salary must also comply with minimum wage and overtime laws.
- Unpaid Accrued Vacation. If a California employer chooses to offer vacation days, they can choose to place a cap on the maximum allowable days that can be accrued at one time but cannot institute a “use it or lose it” policy. Unused accrued vacation days must be paid out at the employee’s current rate upon termination or resignation.
- Unpaid Commissions. Terms of payment for commissions will often come down to the contractual language in the written agreement between an employer and employee. If this contractual language is overly vague (or no written agreement exists), an employer may attempt to cheat an employee out of compensation.
- Unpaid Overtime. Non-exempt employees are always entitled to time-and-a-half pay for authorized and unauthorized overtime. Employers will sometimes attempt to misclassify employees to circumvent overtime requirements or mandate “off the clock” work.
- Unpaid Minimum Wage. All non-exempt California employees must be paid the state’s current minimum wage of $13 an hour for employers with 25 or fewer employees and $14 an hour for employers with more than 25 employees.
- Unpaid Double-Time. California employers must be paid double their normal rate of pay when they work in excess of 12 hours on any single day or when they work in excess of 8 hours on a Sunday after a 7-day workweek.
- Denied Meal Periods. California employers are required to offer a 30-minute, unpaid meal break to all non-exempt employees. Employees cannot be expected or asked to work while “off the clock.” If an employer makes you work through lunch, they are required to provide a “meal period premium” equivalent to 1 hour of pay. If they do not offer this compensation, you may be able to file a meal period wage claim for all denied meal periods over the previous 4 years.
- Denied Rest Break. California employees that work for more than 3.5 hours in a single work session must be provided with a paid 10-minute rest break. If an employer denies this rest break, the impacted employee is entitled to a rest break premium equivalent to 1 hour of pay. Employees being paid exclusively by commissions are also entitled to paid rest breaks in addition to their commission compensation.
- Unpaid Travel Time. Commuting between an employee’s home and a regular worksite does not qualify as a paid travel time. Employees may be entitled to paid travel time if they are required to meet at a different work location if the commute is longer than the employee’s ordinary commute. Travel also may be compensable if an employee is not allowed to use their own transportation or must travel as part of a company-sponsored business trip.
- Unreimbursed Business Expenses. California employers must reimburse employees for any expenses that they must incur in the course of completing their job responsibilities. This includes mileage. Note that employees cannot waive their right to be reimbursed as part of their employment contract.
- Failure to Pay Wages at Termination or Resignation. California employers are required to pay all outstanding compensation to employees within 72 hours of their termination or resignation. This includes reimbursing any remaining expenses, paying out accrued vacation time, and issuing a final paycheck with all relevant overtime and double-time pay. Employers that fail to meet this deadline can be subject to a substantial waiting time penalty.
"Strauss & Strauss represented me in several cases against a former employer. They were taking on a Fortune 500 company that employed some of the world's biggest law firms. Michael Strauss and Andrew Ellison beat them every time."Stephen Craig
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