Employees must be paid in accordance with California overtime laws. Under California law, workers who have been wrongly denied overtime pay are entitled to recover the unpaid overtime wages due, plus attorneys’ fees, costs, and interest.
Overtime is any work over 8 hours in one day or 40 hours in one week. If an employee works all seven days in one work week, he or she must be paid overtime for the first eight hours of work on the seventh day.
Overtime must be paid at the rate of 1.5 times a worker’s “regular” rate of pay. Broadly speaking, an employee’s regular rate is his or her normal hourly rate.
The statute of limitations for a typical unpaid overtime claim is three years from the date his or her lawsuit is filed.
An unpaid over time claim can be either filed in court or with the California Department of Industrial Relations – Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, also known as the “Labor Commission.”
The Labor Commission claim process is less formal than a lawsuit. Advantages to a Labor Commission claim include: 1) the resolution of some types of cases will be faster than in court 2) the commissioners are generally more familiar with the legal issues involved in wage claims than the typical judge in court. Disadvantages may include: 1) the Labor Commission has limited authority 2) cannot handle claims under federal law 3) may not be appropriate if you have other legal claims against your employer in addition to wage and hour claims.
In some cases a lawsuit filed in court may be the preferable course of action. Situations where filing a claim in court would be more advantageous if your claim includes more than three years of unpaid overtime. The Labor Commission will only handle claims going back a maximum of three years, but a suit in court can result in recovering damages going back up to four years. Also, if you have other legal claims against your employer, it may be most efficient to include your wage and hour claims in the same lawsuit.
Some employees are ‘exempt’ from the overtime laws based on the type of work they perform. Exempt employees do not receive additional pay for overtime work. However, the exemption requirements are difficult to interpret; employers often mistakenly classify employees as exempt when in fact the employees do not fit the legal requirements for any exemption. It is important to remember that each exemption must be analyzed individually.
Contact LA SuperLawyers for a free overtime wage claim case evaluation. We will walk you through the process of filing a wage claim, and we give you the choice of filing your wage claim in court or with the Labor Commissioner/Labor Board.
We can also help you determine what you are owed, and can assist you in recovering the compensation you deserve.
If you need further information regarding Unpaid Overtime, please contact us at (310) 477-7767 or fill out the form here.
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