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Rules and regulations for employees were recently updated to make sure that all qualifying employees in California are paid the minimum wage and given breaks. California laws protect all employees, including their work environment as well as wages. If any employer in California does not pay the California minimum wage or offer breaks to employees, legal action may be an option. Call us today to be connected to a Labor Law Attorney that offers a FREE consultation.
Common Legal Violations – Know Your Right
California has some of the best laws in the country for employee rights. Employees must be given breaks, time for meals, pay for sick days, and conditions that are suitable for any disabilities which can be accommodated reasonably by the employer.
Employees must be given:
- time for meals,
- pay for sick days, and
- conditions that are suitable for any disabilities which can be accommodated reasonably by the employer.
Typical Employer Violations:
- Unpaid breaks and missed meals.
- Misclassification of employees as exempt
- Paying employees as 1099 independent contractors instead of W2 wage earners
- Unpaid overtime for employees that should not be salaried
- Salary wages less than minimum set by law
Tips from a Labor Law Attorney / Legal Highlights
By law, employees are entitled to overtime when they are paid by the hour and time on the clock exceeds 8 hours per day or 40 hours per week. Employees that are paid a salary may be entitled to overtime as well unless they are properly classified as exempt.
Employees that work at least 4 hours daily are entitled to a minimum 10-minute break. Those who work more than 5 hours daily are entitled to a minimum of 30 minutes for a meal break.
Employees with disabilities must be given reasonable accommodations by the employer in order to do their job. If a lawyer refuses to accommodate a disabled employee, legal action may be necessary to keep the job and force the employer to make reasonable necessary changes.
California’s Law for Overtime Work
California overtime laws say that anyone working overtime in a company needs to be paid a rate of 1 ½ of that of employee’s usual pay. Overtime is calculated for every hour beyond a regular 8-hour workday or anytime over 40 hours of work scheduled for a week. Important facts to note are:
- It is important to keep pay after regular 8 hours work schedule to be 1 ½ times than that of regular pay scale if the employee works for the 7th day of the workweek continuously. Otherwise, the issue will be handled by unpaid overtime lawyer in the city and a case can be filed against the employer for improper pay scale.
- In case if an employee works for more than 12 hours in any workday or spends more than 8 hours during the 7th consecutive work day in a week, then the regular rate of pay rate must be doubled.
Note that salaried employees are also required to be paid overtime unless they meet the requirement of exempt status as defined by law. The calculation for wages and hour lawyer is very precise so employees are advised to consult with a lawyer regarding California labor laws regarding overtime in order to know their rights.
California Labor Laws for Meals and Breaks
There are specific rules about lunch and short breaks of employees as per California labor break laws and they must be followed strictly. If any non-exempt employee works for more than 5 hours continuously in any workday the employee deserves to have a minimum 30-minute lunch break. A break of 10 minutes must be provided to employees who are working continuously for a minimum of 4 hours. The California meal break law also gives consideration for second meal breaks of employees who are working for more than 10 hours continuously and this second break must be a minimum of 30 minutes again.
In the above-mentioned meal break; employers need to do following things:
- He/she must relieve the employee for these 30 minutes from all duties.
- Withdraw control from all activities of the employee.
- Allow them to have complete control over their personal time and assure an uninterrupted break for these 30 minutes.
- Employers cannot discourage employees from utilizing these 30 minutes in their own way.
On-duty meal breaks: Are only allowed to employees under certain conditions or circumstances according to California labor laws:
- If the type of work does not allow the employee to leave their duty.
- The employee has agreed to this on duty break policy in writing without any force by the employer.
- The on-duty break period is required to be considered in paid working hours.
- The written agreement of on-duty meal breaks can be revoked by an employee in case of any unfavorable condition. However, this rule is not an application to employees working under wage order 14 [related to agriculture occupations].
California Break Laws
All employees working under California break laws are assured complete protection from any stressful condition in the workplace. This rule set helps to develop healthy and caring work environment for all workers where they also avail right payment for all their efforts. The protections provided for workers as per California labor laws are:
- Missed Rest Breaks: As per California meal break laws, you need to have proper rest during rest breaks but in case if anyone of you is not able to get this rest break on time then employer is responsible to give one hour additional payment for that missed rest hour and this amount must be included in next paycheck.
- Missed Meal Break: In case you keep on working even in meal break or are missing your meal break due to work then the employer must give you additional one hour pay with regular pay rate. In case if you are not availing this benefit and still missing your lunch break then you can bring this issue to notice within three years and can claim for unpaid wages.
- For off the clock work hours: As per working off the clock laws; no one can be forced to work off the clock without any pay. It must be included in post-shift, pre-shift type duties and must also consider the time that is spent while waiting for the work in working off the clock hours.
When to Call a Labor Law Attorney
California’s employment laws make it possible for employees to take legal action with the help of labor law attorney. There are very specific steps required for employees who want to take legal action against their employer. It is always best to call a labor lawyer and discuss the situation.
Free Legal Advice and Case Investigation
If you prefer to discuss your case with a labor law attorney, The Consumer Center for Resources offers free information for employees. CCR is a non-profit that works hand in hand with law firms such as Consumer Action Law Group of Panzarella, Gurevich, and Rode. We work closely with law firms that offer free legal advice for employees that have questions about their employer and their rights.
If an employee has issues at work, a quick call to a labor law attorney can help to provide information about any claims they may have. Employees can usually file an employment case for free with the help of labor law attorneys.