Los Angeles Wage and Hour Violations Lawyer
Every employee in the United States has a right to expect fair pay for the work he or she performs. Federal and state wage and hour laws exist to protect workers from employers taking advantage of them. Unfortunately, many employers still try to get away with shortchanging employees and forcing them to work outside the confines of the labor code.
At Mathew & George, we believe employees should receive fair payment for the work that they do. We are passionate about protecting employees in California from unfair and unethical employers. If you believe you have grounds for an employment claim or simply need to ask us a few questions, call (310) 478-4349 for your free consultation with one of our Los Angeles wage violation attorneys.
Why Choose Us?
- We have a long history of fiercely advocating for employees throughout California. Our employment lawyers have a track record of multimillion-dollar settlements and verdicts.
- We have a deep understanding of federal and state employment laws and can use this to your advantage. We know how to build strong wage and hour cases on behalf of clients.
- We use a contingency-fee-based payment arrangement. Our attorneys do not charge for their employment law services unless they secure a monetary award for the client.
Wage & Hour Violation Resources
- When Should You Hire a Wage & Hour Violations Attorney?
- Common Examples of Wage & Hour Violations in Los Angeles
- Compensable Hours Worked in Los Angeles
- Retaining Legal Representation for Your Wage & Hour Violation
- Winning a Wage & Hour Lawsuit in Los Angeles
- Who Is Covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act?
- Contact a Los Angeles Wage & Hour Violations Attorney
When Should You Hire a Wage & Hour Violations Attorney?
No employee should have to put up with an employer infringing upon his or her rights. Going up against your employer alone, however, can be daunting. Your employer will have the resources to combat your claim and may try to convince you to drop the case or settle for less. Make it a fair fight by hiring a skilled lawyer. A law firm will support your legal efforts and give you the power to advocate for a real change at your workplace. Your attorney will handle claim negotiations for you, both in and out of the courtroom.
Common Examples of Wage & Hour Violations
An employer in Los Angeles can commit a wage or hour legal violation in numerous ways. If you believe that your employer has infringed upon your right to a fair wage or violated an employee hours-of-service law, you may have legal options – including a lawsuit for back pay and interest. Some of the most common examples of wage and hour violations in Los Angeles are:
- Misclassifying an employee. Many employers intentionally misclassify their workers as independent contractors instead of employees to avoid affording them all of the benefits guaranteed to employees under state and federal law. It is also common for employers to misclassify employees as exempt from certain privileges or benefits.
- Overtime that is “off the clock.” An employee in California should never have to work, “off the clock.” Working for an additional amount of time outside of an employee’s regular hours is overtime and gives the worker the right to get paid at time and a half (1.5 times the hourly wage).
- Working meal and rest breaks. The law provides all employees in California with meal and rest breaks. The number and length of time of these breaks depend on the number of hours worked in a shift. It is against the law for an employer to force an employee to work during mandatory meal and rest breaks.
- Minimum wage for tipped employees. Tipped employees in Los Angeles, such as waiters and waitresses, hostesses, bartenders, and valet workers, have special laws that apply to them. If a tipped employee does not meet FLSA wage standards through tips plus a reduced hourly rate, it is the employer’s responsibility to make up the difference. Breaching an employment contract. Another common issue is an employer failing to pay employees for bonuses or commissions promised in an employment agreement. This includes verbal employment contracts, although a case involving a written contract is generally easier for the worker to prove.
Other examples of violations include failing to pay an employee minimum wage, not reimbursing an employee for work-related expenses, failing to pay for the time it takes to prepare or don gear before a shift, illegally rounding hours down, and violating child and teen worker rights. Describe your situation to the Los Angeles wage and hour attorneys at Mathew & George to find out if you have grounds for a lawsuit.
Compensable Hours Worked in Los Angeles
Employers in California must pay their employees for all compensable hours worked. This does not only mean the time spent performing regular tasks during a standard shift but every minute that the employee is on duty at the workplace. It can also encompass time spent working outside of the workplace or before/after a regular shift. If an employer does not pay an employee for the following tasks performed for work, it may be a wage/hour violation:
- Being on-call or waiting while at work
- Attending roll call
- Training for a new job or task
- Daily preparations, such as putting on protective gear
- Traveling to or from work-related sites or events (minus daily commutes)
- Writing up reports or summaries
- Cleaning or organizing the workspace or equipment
If an employer in Los Angeles has not paid you for the work that you performed outside of the office or outside of your regular shift, you may be owed back pay for all of your compensable hours worked. An employment law attorney can hire accountants and investigators to accurately calculate all of the hours that you have worked that you were not paid for due to your employer violating California’s hour and wage laws. Then, your attorney can help you go up against your employer in pursuit of compensation for your missed wages.
Retain Legal Representation for Your Wage and Hour Violation
If you believe that your employer has violated your rights, take action as soon as possible. You can file a wage claim with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement or you can file a lawsuit in court. If you file a claim with the state, there will be a hearing before a Deputy Labor Commissioner. Either way, a Los Angeles wage and hour attorney will be a valuable asset if you need to file a claim or a lawsuit against an employer who is in violation of FLSA or California state labor laws. In addition to back pay, your Los Angeles overtime lawyer will help you determine what other compensation may be available to you. Many wage and hour lawsuits uncover issues, such as workplace discrimination, tax law violations, and other illegal activities, often found in workplaces.
The Los Angeles employment lawyers at Mathew & George are committed to providing every one of our clients with tenacious and comprehensive legal counsel. Our team will thoroughly investigate all aspects of your case to ensure you are properly represented. Additionally, our firm maintains a limited caseload. While some firms take as many cases as possible to make money, our firm chooses cases more carefully in order to provide every client with the full range of our abilities and resources.
How Wage & Hour Class Actions Are Formed
When an employee discovers that his or her employer has been underpaying, or that the employer violated wage and hour laws, the worker may file a lawsuit against the employer. This often entails securing documentation that proves the employment agreement between the employee and the employer, employer timekeeping records, and other documentation. However, when an employer does engage in illegal pay practices, several employees are often affected.
When several people share a grievance against the same entity, the group may form what is known as a class-action lawsuit. It is usually much wiser for such a group to pursue a single court action rather than numerous individual lawsuits. A class-action lawsuit helps plaintiffs reduce their legal costs.
Many employers have the resources to hire several attorneys, and others retain an in-house legal team. An employee would likely incur significant legal costs if he or she tried to pursue a lawsuit alone. Additionally, an employee’s claim for owed back pay may not be a large enough amount to warrant a lawsuit. When numerous employees in the same situation come together in a class-action lawsuit, their cumulative losses are counted together in the legal proceedings.
Forming a class action lawsuit for wage and hour law violations in Los Angeles County requires the plaintiffs to determine whether the other employees involved were “similarly situated,” meaning they were employed under similar terms and suffered similar losses. One employee may start a class-action lawsuit by filing for collective action status with the court. If approved, the plaintiff will notify other potential plaintiffs to offer them the opportunity to opt-in to the class action. If the class action lawsuit succeeds, the final amount of compensation is divided among the plaintiffs.
Winning a Wage and Hour Lawsuit in Los Angeles
Whether you participate in a class-action lawsuit with multiple plaintiffs against a single defendant or pursue a lawsuit on your own, it is vital to understand how wage and hour lawsuits generally work and what type of compensation you might expect.
Most employers will elect to settle such disputes rather than risk potentially expensive litigation. Lawsuits can cost employers millions of dollars to manage and typically damage the company’s reputation. When an employer settles a wage and hour case, the damages almost always include back pay for what the employee or employees should have rightfully been paid under The Fair Labor Standards Act. Additionally, FLSA often allows liquidated damages to be paid to the plaintiffs in the amount of what is owed in back pay. This basically allows plaintiffs to recover double what they are owed in damages.
Many wage and hour class action lawsuits will also entail changes in company policy. For example, a company that was illegally classifying non-exempt employees as independent contractors will likely need to precisely define their employees’ status and develop clear guidelines for wages.
Wage and hour disputes can grow into complex litigation very quickly, so it is important that you have reliable legal counsel on your side. Additionally, if you’re thinking about opting in to a class action lawsuit, our team can help you determine if doing so would be in your best interest. If you have any questions about California state wage and hour laws, reach out to our team. We can help you determine whether your situation merits a lawsuit in a free, no-obligation consultation with our team.
Who Is Covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act?
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes all federal rules and regulations concerning wage rates, overtime, child labor, and company record-keeping. FLSA sets the federal minimum wage, which is the minimum hourly rate employers are permitted to pay employees. Additionally, any work past 40 hours in one workweek must be paid at one and one-half (150%) of the employee’s base hourly rate. For example, if an employee’s hourly wage is $10 per hour, then his or her overtime rate would be $15 per hour for every hour worked in a workweek past 40 hours.
FLSA rules apply to every private or government employer with annual sales totaling more than $500,000 per year, or such employers who conduct business across state lines. This may sound very specific, but it applies to virtually every American employer. Even if they do not do more than $500,000 worth of business in a year, almost every employer engages in the legal definition of “interstate commerce”—or doing business across state lines.
Interstate commerce includes using the United States Postal Service to send or receive mail or communicating with distributors, suppliers, business partners, or customers in other states via phone or internet. There are few exemptions for FLSA requirements. One example would be small, privately owned farms that use very little outside paid labor. Another exempt group is salaried employees, or employees who qualify as “executive, professional, or administrative workers.”
The logic behind exempting such employees is that they are salaried instead hourly, and that salary adequately compensates any extra responsibilities that may extend their working time in a given week past 40 hours. Another perk salaried employees enjoy is that paychecks may only be docked for complete days of absence not covered by accrued paid leave days. Some employers may try to have it both ways—they will deny overtime pay by claiming the employee is exempt while simultaneously docking unqualified time from the employee’s paycheck.
Contact a Wage & Hour Violation Attorney in Los Angeles
You do not have to navigate California’s wage and hour laws alone. As soon as you suspect an employer of infringing upon your rights, contact Mathew & George to schedule a free legal consultation. You can meet with an attorney in Los Angeles County or in Irvine, CA at no charge or obligation to discuss your case. You may discover you have grounds for a civil claim against your employer. You could be eligible to recover years of unfairly withheld wages. Call (310) 478-4349 today to speak to one of our lawyers about your workplace situation.
“I heartily recommend Abraham to anyone looking for a business trial attorney. Abraham is a very bright, experienced and has impeccable integrity. He will zealously advocate.” -B.H.