Employees are increasingly asked by their employers to work longer hours and perform a greater number of tasks. This often results in wage and hour claims, including failure to pay overtime, failure to provide legally-mandated meal and rest breaks, demands that employees work off-the-clock, employees being misclassified as exempt from overtime when they are not, and a failure to provide accurate pay-stubs showing the hours worked, the applicable pay rate and the correct amount of wages earned.
Wage and Hour laws are governed by the California Labor Code and the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act. In addition, various rules and regulations are promulgated under these statutes. Employers often violate three categories of the wage and hour requirements. These include unpaid wages, unpaid overtime wages, and failure to pay the minimum wage. Some of the most common wage and hour violations include the following:
Common Wage and Hour Claims Include:
- Employees who are misclassified as exempt from receiving overtime pay.
- Employees who are not provided an uninterrupted meal break within the first 5 hours of work.
- Employees who are not provided a 10 minute rest break for every 4 hours of work.
- Employees who are not paid for required tasks in preparation for work or at the conclusion of work.
- Employees who are not provided with a second meal break for shifts longer than 10 hours.
- Employees who are paid on per-project basis and are not provided minimum wages under the law.
- Employees who are not provided with proper pay stubs containing all required information. (This includes gross wages earned, total hours worked, number of piece-rate units earned and applicable piece-rate, all deductions (separately itemized), net wages, dates included in the pay period, employee’s name and social security number, employer’s name and address, and all applicable hourly rates during the pay period).
An employer must pay required overtime rates to an employee who works overtime hours. Additionally, overtime pay is mandatory and cannot be waived by an employee.
An employee who works in excess of 8 hours in one workday, 40 hours a week, or 8 hours on the seventh day of work in any one workweek, is entitled to overtime pay of one and 1 ½ times the employee’s regular rate of pay. An employee who works in excess of 12 hours in any one day must be compensated at a rate of twice the employee’s regular rate of pay. Finally, an employee who works in excess of 8 hours on any seventh day of a workweek, must be compensated at the rate of twice the employee’s regular rate of pay for all such hours.1
Meal Breaks and Rest Periods
Employers are required to provide all employees with a rest period of 10 minutes for every 4 hours of work. An employer is not required to provide a rest period for an employee who works less than 3 ½ hours in a day. A rest period must be counted as hours worked for which the employee shall be paid.2
An employee who works more than 5 hours a day is entitled to a 30 minute meal break. This meal period is in addition to any applicable rest period the employee must be provided. An employee who works more than 10 hours in a day must receive a second 30-minute meal period.3
During the meal period, the employee must be relieved from all work duty.4 An employee will not be considered relieved of work duty if he or she is required to perform any duties, whether active or inactive, while taking a meal break. For example, an office employee required to eat at his or her desk or a factory worker required to be at his or her machine, will not be considered relieved of all duty. Similarly, if an employee is called back into work during a lunch break, then the interruption shall not be counted toward the time allotted for lunch break.
If an employer fails to provide an employee with a required meal period, then the employer shall be required to pay the employee one hour of pay at the employee’s regular rate of pay for each workday that the meal period is not provided.5
Wage and Hour Attorney’s
The attorneys at Kaplan Weiss LLP have the experience and resources to successfully handle your wage and hour claims. Please contact us at (213) 553-4550 for a free consultation.