As a California worker, you have certain rights. Federal and California laws entitle many employees to overtime pay and also prohibit certain unfair labor practices such as "working off the clock". If you find yourself in this situation, you could have various legal options available to you. In some cases, you may have grounds to join in a wage and hour class action lawsuit.
The hours you work are the hours you are paid for. Whatever your boss is telling you, it really is that simple. If your employer isn't paying you for your work time, you are not simply "doing the company a favor." They're stealing your wages. It was proven in a 2013 Ukiah, Calif. lawsuit where wages were stolen from 47 restaurant employees and it's alleged to be happening nationwide at Chipotle.
Several months ago, we published our most recent white paper, "Power In Numbers: California Wage And Hour Class Actions." We want to draw attention to the most basic labor law violations that deprive many Californians of income they have rightfully earned.
California residents may be aware that Oakland increased the minimum wage in the city to $12.25 per hour on March 1. The decision was prompted by widespread public support and it followed similar moves in San Francisco and Seattle. Small business owners are among the most vocal opponents of increasing the minimum wage, and 223 Oakland entrepreneurs have answered questions from the Employment Policies Institute about how the $12.25 hourly rate has impacted their businesses.
In California, an $8.75-million agreement has been reached in the matter of more than 20,000 temporary workers who attested that Manpower Inc. did not pay them their wages in a timely manner. These employees also reported that they did not receive accurate wage statements from the company.
On Dec. 17, the U.S. Department of Labor announced that dozens of caregivers in California would be paid a combined total of $637,048 for minimum and overtime back wages and liquidated damages. According to a federal investigation, the 24 Filipino workers received less than $5 an hour despite working 11-hour days, five or six days a week.
Los Angeles employees may want some information about the laws regarding sick leave that apply to them. Due to some recent laws, the government has provided for certain minimum amounts of sick time for nearly all California workers.
According to the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement of the California Department of Industrial Relations, employees must be paid 50 percent more than their regular rate of pay for overtime work. Overtime is considered any hours in excess of eight in a single day, more than 40 hours in a week or the first eight hours on the seventh consecutive workday. Any time over eight hours on the seventh day or over 12 hours on any other day result in twice the amount of regular pay.
California workers may be interested in the legal success of one group of employees who are fighting court battles for past overtime pay. Thousands of employees are claiming that they were incorrectly classified by their former employer.
Two California Anheuser-Busch InBev truck drivers filed a lawsuit in District Court on Aug. 11. Their suit claims that they were denied overtime pay as well as paid breaks. It asks for $5 million in addition to attorney fees and other damages. They hope to involve 400 other current and former company employees and obtain class action status for the suit.