The California Labor Code sets forth standards regarding payment of wages, overtime, maximum hours, vacation pay, record-keeping requirements, and more. In addition, depending on the type of business, additional employment standards may apply to employees by the Industrial Welfare Commission Orders.
Non-exempt employees receive the most protection under state law, regardless of the type of work they perform or the size of their employer. However, some employers misclassify their employees as exempt or as independent contractors, and as a result, misclassified employees may earn less income and receive less benefits. If you suspect you have been misclassified, you may be able to take legal action to obtain the monies you may be entitled to, and possibly additional money as penalty to your employer.
As of January 1, 2013, the minimum wage in California is $8.00 per hour. As of January 1, 2013, the minimum wage in San Francisco is $10.55 per hour (only applicable to employees working in San Francisco).
Almost all employees are entitled to at least the minimum wage that was in place at the time they performed work for an employer. An employee cannot waive her legal right to minimum wage. Even if an employee agrees to get paid less than minimum wage, she is still entitled to at least the minimum wage, and there is legal recourse to recover up to minimum wage.
If your employer has paid you less than minimum wage during any pay period, and your employer (or former employer) refuses to pay the difference, you can take legal action to recover the amount you are owed. You may also be entitled to additional money as penalties.
Meal and Rest Periods:
Generally, California law requires most employers to provide non-exempt employees a 30-minute unpaid meal period for every five hours worked. Those employees who work ten hours must be provided two 30 minute meal periods. If your employer (current or former) failed to provide you with required meal period(s), your employer must pay you one additional hour of pay for each day of violation.
Additionally, under state law, non-exempt employees are generally entitled to a ten-minute rest period for every four hours worked. If an employer violates the rest period law, it must pay the employee one additional hour of pay for each day of violation.
Generally, you have three years to sue your employer for meal and rest period violations.
Payment of Wages:
The California Labor Code provides protection to employees upon termination or resignation. If an employee is terminated, all earned wages are due immediately. If an employee quits and provides at least a 72 hours notice, all earned wages are due at the end of the last day of the employment. If an employee quits without providing a 72-hour notice, wages are due within 72 hours of the employee’s last day. If the employee agrees to have her wages mailed to her, the mailing date constitutes the date of payment.
If your former employer has not pay all of your wages, you may be entitled not only to your earned unpaid wages, but to waiting time penalties for every day that your wages remain unpaid, up to 30 days.
California law provides many protections to employees. If you believe your employer may be in violation, or are simply unsure of your rights in the workplace, contact me today for a free initial consultation.