Wage & Hour Claims
Both the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and California Labor Code set the standard for protecting workers' compensation and hours.
Some of the most common wage and hour violations include:
- Failing to pay state or federal minimum wage
- Failing to pay overtime wages
- Failing to pay meal and rest breaks
- Classifying employees as exempt or salaried when they should be classified as "non-exempt" or hourly, meaning that the employer does not compensate employees for overtime
California Overtime Laws
California has more stringent overtime pay laws than most other states and requires that overtime be paid to all non-exempt employees after working 8 hours in a day or 40 hours in a week.
A California employer must pay overtime at the following rates:
- 1.5 times an employee's regular rate of pay for hours worked over 8 in a workday or over 40 hours in a workweek.
- 2 times an employee's regular rate of pay for hours worked over 12 hours in a workday, or for hours worked over 8 hours on the seventh day of the workweek.
If a non-exempt employee works seven consecutive days, he or she must be paid 1.5 times the usual rate for the first 8 hours worked on the seventh consecutive work day, and double time for any hours worked over eight hours on the seventh workday.
Exempt vs. Non-Exempt
Only non-exempt employees are eligible for overtime pay. Employees falling under one of the following most common exemptions are NOT eligible for overtime pay.
Executive Exemption: This exemption applies to employees who spend over half their work time managing businesses or departments of a business.
Administrative Exemption: This exemption applies to employees who spend over half their work time assisting the proprietor or other exempt individual in "servicing" a business in a matter of significance.
Professional Exemption: This exemption applies to employees who have certain licenses to practice a profession or who work in a "learned or artistic" profession.
Computer Software Professional Exemption: This exemption applies to employees who work in highly theoretical aspects of computer software and make over $41.00 an hour.
Outside Salesperson Exemption: This exemption applies to employees who usually work away from the workplace making sales and filling orders. However, the employee cannot spend significant time doing the same work as other non-exempt employees.
Meal & Rest Breaks
California law requires that an employee who works for more than 5 hours per day receive a meal break of not less than 30 minutes. If the workday is no more than 6 hours, the meal break may be waived by mutual consent of both the employer and employee.
If an employee works more than 10 hours a day, a second meal period of not less than 30 minutes is required. If the total of hours worked is no more than 12 hours, the second meal period may be waived by mutual consent of the employer and employee only if the first meal period was not waived.
In addition, non-exempt or hourly employees are entitled to a 10-minute paid rest period for every 4 hours worked. Failure by an employer to provide these rest periods entitles the employee to extra pay and may subject the employer to certain penalties.