Let’s talk about money. As much as we’d like to say happiness is not dependent on money, there’s still some falsehood to this statement. In this day and age, everything is a commodity, and everything costs money. Whether it’s just food and having a roof over your head, or maybe a day at the spa and some splurging on those shoes, money can make us happy. We aren’t saying it’s the sole ingredient for happiness, but it definitely can contribute. To be shorthanded of you wages from your employer just makes life a little bit harder. Your labor and hard work should never be gone uncompensated at your job. So if your employer owes you payments for unpaid wages, you should not let dismiss this. Let one of our Los Angeles attorneys at California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group help you collect what is rightfully yours.
Does my employer owe me unpaid wages?
The more informed we are, the better case we have. Let’s take a look at the California Labor Code and the requirements for minimum wage and overtime pay to determine if you are being paid fair and legally. As of January 2019, the minimum wage for employees in California at companies with 25 or fewer employees must pay a minimum wage of $11 per hour. For companies with 26 or more employees, the minimum wage is $12 per hour. Certain cities have even higher minimum wages: Berkeley’s minimum wage is $15, City and County of Los Angeles is $13.25, Oakland is $13.23, San Francisco is $15, and San Jose is $15. Minimum wage is required and no employee or employer can waive that rate. If you are being paid less than the minimum wage you are being unlawfully paid and need to speak with one of our unpaid wages attorneys immediately.
California Minimum Wage Laws
Employers are also under law, required to pay overtime to non-exempt employees if they work over 8 hours in a single day, work more than 40 hours in a single week, or work more than 6 days in a single week. Overtime in California is 1.5 times an employee’s regular rate. The rate increases to 2 times the normal rate for every hour in a single day over 12 hours, and any hour after 8 hours on the 7th consecutive work day. If you have not been fairly paid according to these laws, then you can sue your employer. Possible damage recoveries you may be able to receive are the amount of compensation owed to you to bring you up to the minimum wage, interest in that amount, attorney’s fees, and a civic penalty on the employer equaling $100 for the first pay period that was violated and $250 for any consecutive pay periods. Most times, if an employer is underpaying you, they are underpaying multiple people, which could lead to a class action lawsuit. Class action lawsuits are when multiple people are represented. This may be to your advantage because then the attorney is able to devote more resources to the case. Our unpaid wages attorneys are completely capable of taking on class action lawsuits.
California also has break or rest period laws. Employees must receive a 30 minute break if they work 5 hours or more in a day. If they work more than 10 hours then they are to be given another 30 minute break. If you have not received these mandatory breaks from your employer then they are required to one hour of your wage for every break not taken. You should also should always be paid for any work you do. It is illegal for an employer to require you to do work off the clock. Off the clock work which is usually in the form of pre-shift duties, post-shift duties, administrative duties, and work performed during a break, all must be compensated for. You should receive your regular hourly rate for this work, and if it exceeds maximum hours, then you are entitled to overtime pay. Any of violations of these laws warrants a lawsuit. California unpaid wage lawsuits usually are because an employer has failed to pay overtime compensation, required an employee to work off the clock, failure to provide breaks, misclassifying employees as exempt of independent contractors, failure to pay minimum wage, and late payment of wages.
Unpaid wage case wins
For won lawsuits involved lost wages from overtime or minimum wage, you can receive back pay which can amount to what you would have been paid if you received the legal amount. However, you may be able to receive interest on this compensation as well. If your employer unlawfully paid you not in good faith, then you may be able to receive double your wages along with liquidated damages. If your employer waits to pay you your wages owed, the first paycheck that is violated initiates a $100 fine for each employee, then $200 plus 25% of the amount unlawfully withheld for each subsequent paycheck. If you have left your job and have unpaid wages left from your employer, there is a waiting penalty that will apply to your employer. THis amount is equal to the amount you would receive as if you were still working there for up to 30 days.
Unpaid wage settlements
Many times, unpaid wage cases reach settlements where the employer will pay the employee instead of going to trial. Most of the time a settlement amount equals liquidations damages which consists of any lost wages, benefits, and other compensations. Usually after filing your claim, you will be scheduled for a settlement conference where you will meet with a deputy labor commissioner will work with you and your employer to reach an agreement to resolve the wage claim. Your employer can offer a settlement deal at any time during the process. There are pros and cons to accepting a settlement. One pro is that the unpaid wages is resolved quickly. If your employer decided to pay you the amount you have requested then you have received monetary redemption quickly. If you go through a trial, the employer may have time to close or file for bankruptcy before paying you. However, a con of settling could be that you do not receive full recovery of your lost wages. Our lawyers will help you decide which path is the best to take.
Free Consultation and Zero Fee Guarantee
In California, the statute of limitations for unpaid wage claims is three years from the violation; one year for failing to provide payroll records; two years for oral promises to pay minimum wage; and four years for written contracts. You must file your claim with the California Labor Commissioner’s Office. You must gather all the necessary information such as pay stubs, employment information, and time records. If you are overwhelmed with filing an unpaid wage claim, our unpaid wage attorneys can help you out. Give us a call or come to our office to speak with an experienced attorney. Our attorneys are eager to look at your case during your free consultation and assist you in filing a claim. We also will represent you and take on your case free of any upfront fees. Our zero-fee guarantee promises that you will only pay us a small fee if your case is won. If you’re already working with an attorney, we would still like to help you with your case by giving you a free second opinion. Los Angeles is an expensive place and our lawyers want to make sure you are getting all the wages you deserve. Don’t sell yourself short; we know your time and effort is important. This is why we will assist you in seeking maximum compensation for your unpaid wages.