Robbins Arroyo LLP’s attorneys represent employees throughout California and the nation in actions to recover wrongfully withheld wages and benefits. Our employment law practice is focused on helping individuals identify and address violations of employment laws by their current or previous employers.
Violation of State and Federal Employment Laws
Employment law violations often involve matters related to:
- Unpaid minimum wages
- Unpaid overtime wages
- “Off-the-clock” work
- The misclassification of employees as exempt from state and federal overtime requirements
- The misclassification of individuals as “independent contractors”
- Unlawful, forced tip-sharing arrangements
- Denial of meal periods and rest breaks
- Unlawful denial/loss of vacation pay
- Unlawful practices forcing employees to bear an employer’s business expenses.
Employment Law Violations – Are You a Victim?
Most employees are uninformed of their legal rights under state and federal laws, and many employers either knowingly or inadvertently fail to pay workers properly.
Both the California Labor Code and the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) provide numerous protections to employees.
Under these laws, employees have a right to:
- Be paid overtime. Most employees are entitled to overtime pay regardless of whether they are paid by the hour, by commission, or an annual salary. Very few employees actually qualify for one of the few exceptions to the overtime rules. Thus, most employees are entitled to be paid overtime for all hours worked over 40 in a single week. In California, employees must be paid overtime for all hours over 8 in a day or 40 in a week, and double-time for all hours over 12 in a single day.
- Be paid overtime on commissions and performance bonuses. Non-exempt employees (i.e. most employees) must be paid additional overtime compensation on the commissions and bonuses they earn.
- Receive meal periods and rest breaks. California law requires employers to provide a 30 minute meal period where no work is performed where employees work over 5 hours, and second meal period after 10 hours. California law also requires employers to provide ten minute rest breaks for every 4 hours worked. Employees denied these rights are entitled to an extra hour of pay for each violation.
- Not be forced to pay for business expenses. Computer, cell-phone, mileage/travel, and other expenses related to an employer’s business must be paid by the employer, not the employee.
Examples of Employment Law Violations Employees Should Be Aware Of
Misclassification of Employees & Overtime Pay
One of the most common violations occurs when an employer tells an employee they are not entitled to overtime because they are “salaried” or paid commissions. Generally speaking, the mere fact that an employee is paid a salary or commissions does not mean the employee is not entitled to overtime. The exceptions to state and federal overtime requirements are very narrow – focusing on individuals who are high level managers, administrators setting company policy, or high level professionals (doctors, senior engineers, etc.). Thus, simply because you are paid a salary or commissions does not mean your employer can avoid paying you overtime.
Work Required To Be Done “Off-the-Clock”
Examples of situations where employees are working “off-the-clock” include situations where employees are required to come to work and change into uniforms and equipment before clocking in; situations where employees take paperwork home; and situations where employees travel for work but are unpaid (other than commuting from home).
We Help Employees Understand and Enforce Their Rights
Robbins Arroyo LLP attorneys help individuals fight for and maintain the rights, protections, and benefits they are entitled to under federal and state laws. We are committed to ensuring that both salaried and hourly workers are treated fairly, and receive the compensation they deserve under state and federal law.
Our attorneys are skilled litigators dedicated to representing plaintiff clients in complex litigation matters. We may be able to help you seek recourse for unfair treatment or help you collect money owed to you. Further, we provide our legal services on a contingency fee basis. Our clients are not responsible for paying fees or costs associated with our legal services.
How We Can Help You Enforce Your Employment Rights
If you feel that your rights have been violated by an employer or that you have not been fully compensated for your work and you would like to discuss your potential case with an attorney, you can contact Robbins Arroyo LLP for a confidential case evaluation.