Employment Law FAQ’s

Common Employment Law Questions

Can I get overtime pay if I am on salary?

There is a common misconception that salaried employees are not entitled to overtime pay. While that may be true in some cases, very often employers incorrectly classify salaried employees as exempt in order to avoid paying overtime. Many salaried employees are entitled to overtime pay just like hourly employees.

Do I have a claim for harassment?

Not all harassment at work is against the law. To be unlawful the harassment must be based on specific characteristics, such as your race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation. If you feel like you’ve been harassed because you’re a woman in an all male workforce, you may have a case. If your boss is just mean or difficult, you may not.

What is overtime pay and when does it kick in?

Depending on the nature of your job and how many hours you work, overtime pay may be 1.5 or 2 times your regular hourly rate of pay. Your employer is required to pay you overtime if you work more than eight hours in a day, more than 40 hours in a week or more than six consecutive days in a row. You are entitled to time-and-a-half for work over 8 hours in a day or 40 hours in a week. You are entitled to double time for any work over 12 hours in any workday or over 8 hours on the seventh day of a workweek.

My employer fired me but still owes me wages. How long do they have to pay me?

If you were terminated, your employer was required to pay you all wages due immediately. If you resigned, then your employer had up to 72 hours to pay. If your employer fails to pay, then as a penalty to the employer your daily wages continue to accrue from the date the wages were due until they are paid. The daily wage penalty is limited to a maximum of 30 days.

What is the current minimum wage in California?

As of January 1, 2018, the California minimum wage for employers with 25 or fewer employees is $10.50/hour. The California minimum wage for employers with 26 or more employees is $11.00/hour. However, certain cities have a higher minimum wage. For example, in Los Angeles the current minimum wage is $12.00/hour for employers with 25 or fewer employees and $13.25/hour for employers with 26 or more employees.

My employer makes me work off the clock. Is that allowed?

Under California law, you must be paid for all work hours. Therefore, your employer cannot make you work “off-the-clock” in order to avoid paying you or to avoid incurring overtime obligations. An employer’s failure to pay for all of your hours worked may entitle you to additional wages and penalties.

My boss doesn’t pay me on time or explain how my pay was calculated. Is that legal?

Under the law, you must be paid on time, on the regularly scheduled payday. Along with your paycheck, your employer must also provide a wage statement detailing, among other things, your hours worked, rate of pay, and all deductions. If your employer fails to do so, may be entitled to recover damages and penalties.

Am I entitled to any paid sick leave? Can I lose my unused sick days if I don’t use them by the end of the year?

The Healthy Workplaces Healthy Families Act requires California employers to provide paid sick leave to many employees. An employer can usually satisfy the requirements by providing the full three days of leave at the beginning of each year, or by using an accrual method whereby the employee earns one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked. (Certain cities, such as Los Angeles, require additional sick days for employees working within the city limits.)

However, there are limitations to the paid sick leave requirements. For example, an employer may limit use of paid sick days to 24 hours or three days in each year of employment. Additionally, while an employee’s accrued paid sick days will carry over to the following year of employment, an employer may limit the accrual amount to 48 hours.

Additionally, unlike other paid time off, such as earned vacation, an employer does not need to pay for unused sick leave at the conclusion of your employment.