Los Angeles Overtime Pay Lawyer
American workers are paid in a number of ways. Some are contractors, typically charging a specific amount for their work over a set period of time or for a specific project. Others are paid a salary, which is a consistent amount for their work. Still others are paid hourly and receive a set amount per hour of work that they perform. The Fair Labor Standards Act governs the wage and hour laws in the United States. FLSA dictates that covered workers must be paid “overtime” for all hours worked over 40 hours in any given workweek. Do you believe you have been unfairly denied overtime pay? Contact our Los Angeles overtime lawyers, to begin discussing your claim against unpaid wages.
Recovering The Money You Deserve
If you are rightfully owed extra pay for your extra hours worked over 40 in a workweek, your employer is required to pay you at the appropriate rate for that time if your employment is nonexempt from FLSA. You will need a competent and experienced Los Angeles overtime pay attorney on your side. If you succeed in a work hours dispute, you can receive overtime compensation including:
- Back pay for the overtime you should have rightfully received. In some cases, a judge may require that the employer pay damages equal to your owed back pay amount in addition to the overtime pay, effectively awarding you double the back pay you are owed.
- Front pay. If you were fired or otherwise coerced into leaving your job, you can argue for reinstatement. This is common in employment discrimination cases, but disputes concerning overtime often result in termination as well. When reinstatement is not possible, the court may award front pay in lieu of reinstatement. Front pay is what you would have been reasonably expected to have earned between the time of your termination and the judgment of your case. It may also extend to the time the court reasonably expects it to take you to secure new employment.
- Damages for discrimination. In some cases, an employer may attempt to deprive an employee of earned extra due to factors such as the employee’s sex, race, religion, skin color, or other protected classification. In doing so, the employer is illegally discriminating. Judges often award punitive damages in these cases, which are meant to punish the employer and discourage it from similar conduct in future. A judge may also award damages for pain and suffering if your situation entailed harassment, threats, or a hostile work environment.
Understanding Overtime in California
Overtime is defined as one and one-half (150%) of an employee’s standard hourly rate. For example, if an employee’s usual rate is $20 per hour, his or her overtime rate would be one and one-half times that amount – or $30 per hour. California law does not dictate how many extra hours an employee may work in a workweek. However, employers must pay extra for all hours worked over 40 in a 168-hour (seven consecutive days) workweek. An overtime attorney in Los Angeles can help you understand the laws that apply in the state of California for employees.
Is Travel Time Considered Overtime?
Travel time in California can be substantial depending on where you live. If you travel within a metropolitan region such as Los Angeles or San Francisco, you could spend hours in your vehicle. You may qualify for overtime pay for travel time at work if you are technically working at the time. The definition of working for the purposes of compensation is time spent in which the employee is under the control of the employer. Control refers to an employer directing, commanding or restraining a worker.
In most cases, you can receive overtime pay for travel time as long as you are not trying to receive payment for your commute to or from work. An employee’s daily commute to and from the office does not count as time spent at work and will not be eligible for overtime pay. If you travel to meet with clients, to go on work-related lunches or for business trips, however, the employer should offer you wages and overtime pay, as applicable. You could also be eligible for reimbursement for your travel expenses. You may only receive overtime for travel if you work over your normal 40 hours in a week.
California Time Limit for an Overtime Claim
Under California law, you only have a limited time to bring a wage or hour claim. If you miss your deadline, you may give up the right to back pay and other compensation. In most cases, the statute of limitations is three years from the date you first discover the missing overtime pay. The clock generally starts ticking on the date you receive the paycheck that is short the expected overtime pay, not the date you worked overtime. Claimants can extend most time limits to four years, however, for unfair competition claims.
Although California is a worker-friendly state in terms of civil laws, the courts are strict when it comes to statutes of limitations. A deadline is in place to maintain the justice of the civil system. You must meet the three-year time limit for a valid overtime pay claim in California. Once you file your claim, you can seek to collect back wages for overtime work performed up to three years prior to the date you brought the claim. The three-year statute of limitations applies to most types of wage and hour claims.
Is Unpaid Overtime Against The Law?
FLSA dictates that employers may not discriminate on the basis of race, skin color, age, sex, sexual orientation, or other similar factors and stipulates that employers must make reasonable accommodations for religious needs and disabilities. However, FLSA does not require breaks, meal periods, vacation pay, holiday pay, sick pay, or weekend/night work pay for employees. These things are largely considered agreements between the employer and the employee. Some states have specific hour laws that govern these types of overtime compensation.
When employers violate FLSA or commit state wage violations, and do not pay employees proper overtime when required, they are liable for any resulting lawsuits from the affected employees.
Examples of Overtime Compensation and Exemptions
You might qualify for overtime compensation if you work enough hours in a shift and/or workweek. If you work 50 hours within seven consecutive days, for example, you would qualify for 10 hours of overtime pay, or 10 hours at time-and-a-half wages. All nonexempt employees in California must lawfully receive overtime pay for each hour worked beyond 40 hours per 168-hour week. Receiving salary pay does not make you exempt from overtime pay. Only employees in specific industries in California are exempt from receiving overtime pay.
- Seasonal amusement park or recreational establishment workers
- Employees at small newspapers and newspaper delivery people
- Switchboard operators at small phone companies
- Seamen aboard vessels
- Employees of fishing operations
- Casual babysitters
- Companions to the elderly or infirm
- Domestic workers residing in employers’ residences
- Employees that perform office work and receive $100,000 or more annually
- Commissioned employees at retail establishments
- Automobile and automotive parts salespeople
- Railroad and air carrier employees
- Taxi drivers
- Local delivery drivers
- Announcers and news editors at nonmetropolitan broadcasting stations
- Movie theater employees
If you have one of these jobs, you may not be eligible for overtime pay. Only certain exceptions to the rule exist, however, so speak with a lawyer to make sure you are exempt. If you are curious as to whether you are exempt from overtime, ask an employment attorney about your specific work situation.
Contact an LA Overtime Lawyer
Whenever you have concerns about your hours worked, discuss the issue with your employer. You may have encountered a glitch in your company’s payroll software or missed a punch on your time card. Simple misunderstandings along these lines are typically fixed quickly and easily with no hard feelings. However, if you believe you were deprived of overtime pay deliberately, connect with a Los Angeles overtime lawyer as soon as possible to protect your rights. Reach out to the LA employee attorneys at Mathew & George for a free case evaluation, and we will let you know how we can help.