Do You Qualify: California Worker Unpaid Wages, Overtime Lawsuit Claim Review

A California worker is suing her former employer for unpaid wages and overtime, claiming she was paid less than the minimum wage. The case will be decided on whether or not the company can use a “bona fide” employee exemption to avoid paying overtime.

The california unpaid wages penalties is a legal guide that explains the different ways in which an employer can be penalized for not paying their employees.

What Are the Overtime Laws in California?


Employers may pay their workers overtime compensation if or when they work more than a certain amount of hours. Overtime compensation is based on hourly earnings, salaries, shift differentials, non-discretionary incentives, and commissions, according to California labor law. It is an overtime pay violation if they are not taken into account when calculating overtime compensation.

Non-exempt (hourly) workers in California are entitled to overtime compensation if they work more than a specified number of hours in a day or week, according to California labor regulations.

For every hour worked over 8 hours in a single day or 40 hours in a single week, California overtime law compels employers to pay one and one-half times the employee’s normal rate of pay.

In addition, California law mandates:

  • For the first 8 hours worked on the seventh consecutive day of work in a workweek, one and a half times the employee’s normal rate of pay; and
  • For all hours worked in excess of 12 hours on any weekday, and for all hours worked in excess of eight on the seventh consecutive day of work in a workweek, double the employee’s normal rate of pay.

Salaried workers must be paid overtime under California Labor Law unless they satisfy the criteria for exempt status.

What Are California’s Meal and Rest Break Laws?


Nonexempt workers are entitled to a 30-minute off-duty lunch break if they work more than 5 hours in a day, and 10-minute breaks every 4 hours worked, according to California Labor Law. If an employee works more than 10 hours, a second 30-minute meal break is required.

Employers must additionally perform the following during the meal time, according to California law:

  • Employee should be relieved of all responsibilities.
  • Allow yourself to lose control over the employee’s actions.
  • Allow them a fair chance to take a 30-minute rest without interruption.
  • It does not obstruct or deter the employee from doing so.

An on-duty meal time is permitted in certain situations if the following criteria are met:

  • Because of the nature of the job, an employee cannot be freed of all responsibilities.
  • The employee signed off on it in writing.
  • It has to be paid.
  • Except under Wage Order 14, it may be withdrawn by the employee at any time in writing (Agricultural Occupations).

Workers in California are protected by the following laws:

Missed Meal Time: Your employer must give you an extra hour of pay at your normal rate for each weekday that you were not supplied with a meal period as required. You have three years to file a claim for unpaid pay.

Missed Rest Break: If you are not provided a rest break, you are due one hour of pay, which must be paid in the next paycheck.

What Are Minimum Wage Infringements?

With a few exceptions, California wage legislation applies to virtually all workers. California’s minimum wage has been established at $11.00 per hour for companies with 25 or fewer workers beginning of January 1, 2019. The minimum wage has been established at $12.00 per hour for companies with 26 or more workers.

According to Forbes, these minimum wage requirements will rise every year until January 1, 2022 for companies with more than 26 workers and until January 1, 2023 for businesses with 25 or less employees. The minimum wage for all eligible workers will be $15.00 per hour at this time.

You are entitled to the minimum wage whether you work full-time, part-time, or on a commission basis. Your employer has committed a severe labor violation if they pay you less than the minimum wage.

Who is Protected by the Minimum Wage Act?

In most California sectors, minimum wage rules apply to both children and adults. Waitstaff at California restaurants are subject to minimum wage rules as well, and their employers may not be able to use their tips to help them meet their minimum wage obligations.

In California, people may be excluded from minimum wage regulations. Those who are hired by their parents, children, or spouse are exempt. Furthermore, outside salespeople and trainees may be excluded from these rules. During the first 160 hours of work, learners with no prior experience in their area may be paid at least 85 percent of the minimum wage.

There are additional exclusions for workers who are mentally or physically handicapped and work for a nonprofit organization. It’s possible that these workers get paid less than the minimum wage.

In California, those who work as contractors are also excluded from the minimum wage. However, minimum wage is a hot topic in California’s gig economy, and it’s become a negotiating tool for ridesharing firms like Uber and Lyft.

According to NBC News, a measure in California that would increase worker benefits is up for a vote. Workers who work as contractors in “gig economy” businesses would become employees under the proposed law. This would provide them with the advantages of being an employee, such as unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation, and other benefits that contractors are often not entitled for. 

Uber and Lyft, two of California’s largest gig economy firms, have proposed that instead of making contractors employees, all drivers should be eligible for a minimum salary of $21 per hour.

According to NBC, this decision contrasts sharply with the businesses’ reportedly poor pay for drivers. According to NBC, Veena Duval, a labor law professor at the University of California-Hastings, Lyft and Uber’s decision to pay such a significantly higher minimum wage “shows they are very concerned” about the proposed legislation that may convert contractors into employees.

The proposal to pay drivers $21 per hour comes after years of complaints from rideshare drivers that their compensation has decreased while the firms collected more of the profits.

Experts believe that, despite its seeming high cost, paying drivers a minimum wage of $21 per hour would be much less costly than the consequences of converting all of the company’s contract workers into employees.

What Are the Differences Between the Federal and State Minimum Wages?

The minimum wage in the United States is $7.25. Many states and towns, however, have their own wage rules.

When two minimum wage regulations clash, the employer is obliged to obey the harsher legislation, or the one that indicates a higher minimum pay.

Employers in California must follow the state’s minimum wage legislation rather than the federal minimum wage law. Employers in a number of California localities may also be subject to wage regulations unique to the state. Cities in California that have already established a minimum wage of $15.00 or more include:

  • Berkeley
  • Cupertino
  • El Cerrito is a town in the state of Texas.
  • Emeryville
  • Los Altos is a city in the state of California.
  • View from the Mountain
  • Palo Alto is a city in California.
  • Richmond
  • San Francisco is a city in California.
  • San Jose
  • San Mateo is a city in the state of California.
  • Santa Clara is a city in the state of California.
  • Sunnyvale

Employees in California who feel they have been subjected to minimum wage breaches may submit a wage claim with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, similar to the wage and hour case brought against the City of Long Beach. Employees may also want to seek compensation for missed earnings by hiring a labor law counsel and filing a lawsuit against their company. Even if you no longer work for the company that broke California’s minimum wage rules, you may still be entitled to compensation.

What Are Employee Expenses That Are Reimbursed?

As a California employee, you may not be aware that your company is obliged by law to pay your work costs. If your work expenditures were eligible, your employer might be held legally liable if they failed to pay them. Even if you worked for a business that no longer employs you, you may have grounds to take legal action against them if they did not properly pay you.

Expense Reimbursement Laws in California

Section 2802 of the California Labor Code lays forth the requirements for employers regarding cost reimbursement. According to the statute of limitations, the reporting of costs to the employer may take up to four years, although most companies prefer a considerably shorter time period to evaluate the charges.

Many companies have their own internal rules regarding cost filing. Many companies employ a standard one-month turnaround time for expenditure reports. Employers must pay employees for legitimate business costs, therefore it’s critical that they utilize standards to define what such expenses are.

If an employee is required to use their personal phone or vehicle for work, the law preserves the employee’s entitlement to reimbursement for the business usage. The goal of this legislation is to eliminate the possibility that a company would unjustly pass on operational costs to workers.

Expenses That Can Be Reimbursed

Employees may be entitled for reimbursement for a variety of costs, including the purchase of equipment or supplies, transportation, uniform purchases and laundry, and business travel expenses.

However, not every employer is required to repay all costs. Employers are not required to pay employees for generic clothes, personal equipment, or hand tools in certain circumstances.

Some expenditures are very straightforward in terms of reimbursement. Others are in the grey region. The criterion used to evaluate whether an employer should repay an expenditure is whether it is essential.

Limits on reimbursed expenditures should be properly recorded and in writing if the employer has them. Employers must have rules in place that spell out exactly what an employee must do in order to be paid. Employers that fail to pay reasonable costs may face legal action.

If the employer does not have a clear policy in place addressing what is reasonable, it may be difficult to defend a lawsuit alleging that the business rejected a reasonable request for reimbursement of costs to a worker.

It’s critical for employees to understand that California law imposes additional obligations and safeguards for employees than federal law. For example, although federal law does not compel employers to pay employees for car costs such as mileage, California does so when the mileage is incurred as a result of job responsibilities.

What is Off-the-Clock Work and How Does It Benefit You?

Employers in California are prohibited by federal and state labor laws from allowing workers to work off-the-clock without compensation, whether they are aware of the work or should have been aware of it, and whether the work is necessary or not. This covers pre-shift and post-shift responsibilities, as well as time spent waiting for employment.

Sprint agreed to a $7.6 million settlement in early January, after a complaint alleging that the telecoms corporation was violating the Fair Labor Standards Act and other employee protection regulations.

In the state of California, Sprint isn’t the only business facing these kinds of claims.

What is Misclassification of Employees as Independent Contractors?

Some companies mistakenly designate their workers as exempt from overtime pay, either because they don’t understand the exclusions or because they want to save money. If the employee is not exempt from overtime pay, they should be paid time and a half if they work more than eight hours per day or 40 hours per week.

If you are legally a non-exempt (hourly-paid) employee but your employer has categorized you as exempt (salary-paid), it is likely that your company is attempting to save money by not paying you overtime and other compensation.

What Are Some Other Examples of Labor Law Violations in California?

Some California companies also engage in illegal and deceptive labor practices such as neglecting to pay for off-the-clock work and breaching corporate policies on tip pooling. Retaliation against an employee who inquires about unpaid pay or makes a complaint about an employer’s breach of wage and hour regulations is likewise prohibited under California law.

In certain instances, employment claims in California include several accusations. Underpaid salaries, unpaid overtime, missed breaks, and off-the-clock overtime labor are among the allegations made in a recent lawsuit against Kim Kardashian.

How Long Do You Have to Report a Labor Law Violation in California?

The amount of time you have to report a California labor law violation varies based on the kind of agreement or California labor law rule that was broken. Reports that are based on:

  • Within two years after the event, an oral agreement must be submitted.
  • Within four years of the infraction date, a written agreement must be submitted.
  • A breach of a law or regulation (such as minimum wage or overtime infractions) must be reported within three years of the date of the infringement.

How Much Compensation Can You Get If You Break a Labor Law in California?

The amount of damages you may get for a violation of California labor law is determined on the particular statute that your employer violated. A skilled California labor law expert can help you get the greatest compensation for your lost wages.

  • Wages that have not been paid. It entails suing for compensation for earnings that you should have received from your employer. The sums that your employer should have paid you for the job you performed, including any overtime, are known as lost pay or back pay.
  • Penalties for missing meals and rest breaks. If an employee misses a meal, they are entitled to a penalty of one hour of labor each day.
  • Damages that have been liquidated. Compensation for an employer who does not pay at least the minimum wage. According to California Labor Code Section 1194.2, if you are not paid at least the minimum wage, you may be eligible to claim twice the minimum wage (a)
  • Penalties for not getting your last payment right after you’ve been dismissed. According to California labor law, your last payment must include any unused vacation time as well as any hours for which you have not yet been compensated.
  • Violations of wage statements Employers are required by California labor law to provide certain information on workers’ paychecks, such as hours worked, rate, total compensation, and so on. Failure to provide this information may result in fines of $50 for the first offense and $100 for subsequent offenses, with a total of $4000 in damages.

What Can a Labor Law Attorney in California Do for You?

Top Class Actions works with highly experienced California labor law lawyers that can assess your case and assist you in obtaining the money you are entitled to. Fill out the form on this page for a free consultation with a California labor law violations attorney to see whether you have a case.

Join a Free Wage & Hour Class Action Lawsuit Investigation in California.


California’s labor rules are among the most liberal in the nation, but they may be complicated to understand. Speaking with a California labor law expert may help you decide whether you qualify for compensation for labor law breaches such as underpaid overtime, minimum wage, missing lunch breaks, and more.

Fill out the form at the top of this page to get a free case assessment from one and discover whether you qualify to join a class action lawsuit against an offending business.

This inquiry solely affects California workers who are affected by labor law breaches in the state. Please click here to send your information to an employment attorney in your state if you live outside of California.

The wage claim status is the process of reviewing the status of a claim for unpaid wages, overtime pay, or other types of claims that are not covered by state law.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens to California employers who dont pay overtime?

California employers are not required to pay overtime.

Can my employer make me work unpaid overtime?

This depends on the overtime laws in your country.

What happens if your job doesnt pay you overtime?

If your job doesnt pay you overtime, then you are not eligible for overtime.

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