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Payment for hours worked is the cornerstone of what the employee – employer relationship is built upon. As mandated by the Federal Law and California Labor Code, all employees deserve to be fairly and fully compensated for their services. However, more often than not a great number of employers violate these wage and hour laws out of ignorance or greed. If your employer has performed labor law violations regarding money owed to you for time spent on the job, Mesriani Law Group can assist you in enforcing your rights. We offer a free consultation for your wage and hour disputes, and we help our clients stand up for their rights to obtain their just compensation. We are employee advocates who work hard to ensure that employers are held accountable for their misconduct.
Here are shortcuts to the specific topics:
- Wage and Hour Attorney in Los Angeles
- How Mesriani Wage and Hour Attorney Can Help
- Why Choose Mesriani Law Group
- Common Examples of Wage and Hour Violations
- How to File a Wage and Hour Claim
- Wage and Hour Laws in California
- Compensation for Wage and Hour Violations
- Contact a Wage and Hour Attorney at Mesriani Law Group
- Wage and Hour Lawyer FAQs
How Mesriani Wage and Hour Attorney Can Help
At Mesriani Law Group, our wage and hour attorney understand the damaging effect that wage and hour violations have on employees. Such unlawful acts are done to either illegally increase its profits at the expense of its employees or cut corners to save money. With our wage and hour lawyers, rest assured that we will exhaust all options to recover your lost wages and other compensation, assisting you in enforcing your rights and what is just.
Once you are ready to take action, give us a call at (310) 826-6300 to get a free consultation.
Why Choose Mesriani Law Group
While there may be numerous legal counsel options for wage and hour claims, choosing the right representation for your specific situation is essential to obtaining successful results. At Mesriani Law Group, we provide our clients with the following:
No Win No Fee Policy
At Mesriani Law Group, we have a No Win No Fee guarantee. You don’t pay us anything if we don’t win your case.
Proven Track Record
Mesriani Law Group was founded in 1996 and since then, it has maintained its outstanding reputation of recovering hundreds of millions of dollars for its clients.
Experienced Wage and Hour Attorneys in Los Angeles
Rodney Mesriani and his team of highly skilled and accomplished lawyers have over two decades of experience among them and are thoroughly dedicated to fighting for victims of wage and hour disputes.
Mesriani Law Group represents clients all over Southern California and has been given the highest ratings as seen on Yelp, AVVO, Google, and alike. Direct communication and superior customer service are what our firm is known for.
The firm’s multilingual team also speaks Farsi, Spanish, and Tagalog. Our professional and gracious staff are pleased to answer any queries you may have.
We are available 24/7 to give consultations over the phone and if our clients are unable to meet at our office, we are amenable to meet you at your convenience.
Common Examples of Wage and Hour Violations
Wage and hour violations can occur in different ways. These occurrences are usually the result of a lack of knowledge of what the rules are for both the employer and the employee. Employment law can be very complicated and being aware of what is right and what is not can help in determining what legal step to make.
Below is a list of the common examples of wage and hour violations that employees should be aware of, these are:
- Unpaid worked hours and overtime pay
- Failure to provide the correct rate of payment for worked hours and overtime
- Prohibiting overtime but providing too much work to complete in a full workday
- Pressuring employees to work as “on-call” without pay
- Forcing employees to work “off the clock”
- Adjusting employee’s hours without permission
- Failure to pay minimum wage
- Failure to pay employees for preparation time
- Depriving employees with legal rest and meal breaks
- Denying employees a copy of their legal paychecks
- Nonpayment of outstanding wages upon termination of employment
- Non-remittance of work-related expenses that the employee paid
- Failure to compensate for mileage and travel time that occurred while on the clock
- Holding back payment of bonuses, benefits, commissions, tips, etc.
- Wrongly classifying employees as independent contractors or as exempt employees
How to File a Wage and Hour Claim
There are several wage and hour violations laws that both the state and federal laws enforce to protect employees from unlawful acts by their employers. However, for these laws to serve their purpose, the employee should take the first step and that would either be:
- File a lawsuit in court
- File a wage claim with a federal agency
- File a wage claim with California’s Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE)
Where and how you file your claim has a significant effect on the value of your case and how soon it can get resolved. A skilled and trustworthy wage and hour lawyer who is highly experienced in the procedures of filing is your best course of action. By doing so, you are ensuring the highest possible success of your claim.
Wage and Hour Claim Class Action Lawsuit
Class action lawsuits are considered standard in wage and hour litigation. A great number of class and collective action lawsuits often started as the result of disputes by one or a handful of employees on behalf of a larger number of employees. While the issue in a class action lawsuit can be broad, there are two main elements that are always present in every class action:
- The issues in dispute are common to all staff or employees
- The employees affected are so many as to make it unfeasible to bring them all before the court
Some examples of class action that relate to wage and hour cases entail:
- Employees who have unpaid wages and benefits owed to them by their employer
- Employees who did not receive their severance pay at the time of termination
- Employees who were wrongfully categorized as independent contractors
In situations such as these, the class action lawsuits that carry out the legal rights of all the employees wronged by the same employer are a lot more successful than individual lawsuits and a more potent way to punish the employer for their wrongdoing.
Wage and Hour Laws in California
Wage and hour laws establish the primary guidelines for the employee’s pay and time worked, which cover the issues like:
- Minimum wage pay
- Overtime pay
- Benefits and bonuses
- Meal and rest breaks
- What services count as time worked
- When the employee must be paid for his/her services
- Taskwork and labor that the employer must pay, and so on.
The FLSA- Fair Labor Standards Act along with several California state laws carry out the rights of employees to equal wages and working conditions. The FLSA states that the minimum wage for non-exempt workers is $7.25 per hour but in the state of California, employees working at a company with a staff of 25 or less get $14 per hour, while 26 or more get $15 per hour. Furthermore, in some cities like Los Angeles or Santa Monica, the minimum wage is even higher. Employers who violate and completely disregard these laws and the rights of the employees will be held accountable and penalized for their unlawful acts.
Employers Are Required to Pay Employees for All Hours Worked
Hours worked by the employee are services they have provided to accomplish the work tasks. This entails not only the regular tasks during the regular shift but as well as any additional time spent by the employee on any of the following undertakings:
- On-Call Time or Waiting Time: Once the employee is within the premises of their employment, they are considered to be working. It does not matter if the employee is waiting to be engaged or simply on-call, it is still regarded as hours worked and must be paid accordingly. The same goes for employees who are required to work off the premises but are on-call or in waiting time. Such as a truck driver sitting in a nearby shade while waiting for the goods to be loaded.
- Training Time: California law requires employers to pay any work-related expenses, which includes training expenses for nonexempt employees. The hours rendered by the employee during training must be compensated at the standard hourly rate, and any extra hours beyond 40 in a workweek must be paid in accordance with the overtime laws.
- Preparation Time: This involves employees being required to put on protective gear or set up equipment before working their shift. The time spent on these tasks must be paid even though they are considered to be done before the shift.
- Travel Time: This pertains to any commute or travel made by the employee that is related to their work task, such as an employee running an errand in sending out documents to another work site per the employer’s instructions. Such travel time made by the employee must be compensated accordingly. It is important to note that commute time to and from work is not included in work related travel time.
Minimum Wage Requirements
As the years passed and the economy drastically changed and the prices of commodities increased, in turn, the need to increase the minimum wage of employees has also amplified. The federal government together with the state of California has set a minimum wage that the employers are required to pay to each of their employees. As seen in the graph below, since 2017 California’s minimum wage has gradually increased each year.
Nearly all employees in California are to be paid the minimum wage as required by the state law, apart from the employees who are considered exempt from the minimum wage law, such as an outside salesperson, the employer’s parent, spouse, or offspring of the employer, and some apprentices. Giving a lower pay than that of the required minimum wage is considered unlawful and can be penalized based on the California Labor Code 1197 of the California Labor Commission.
Overtime Pay Requirements
Governed by California law, overtime pay is based on the employees’ regular rate of compensation multiplied by 1.5 times for any time worked more than 8 hours in a day and double time for hours over 12 hours worked in a day. As an example, the employee works on an hourly basis and the regular rate of pay is $15.00 per hour, overtime pay would be $22.50 at a time and one-half ($15 + $7.50) and $30.00 at double time ($15 x 2). Time and half wages also apply to hours that exceed 40 hours in a week. Even if an employee fails to reach 40 hours in a week, if any of their shifts exceeded an 8-hour workday, they are entitled to overtime. Additionally, any hours worked on the 7th consecutive day is also paid at a rate of time and a half.
Are You Exempt from Overtime?
Following California law, employees who are considered exempt from overtime belong to the categories stated below and who earn an annual salary rather than an hourly wage. Employees regarded as exempted are:
- Executive employees
- Administrative employees
- Licensed professionals
- Computer software employees
- Outside sales employees
- Government employees
- Entertainment industry employees (actors and actresses)
- Employees in the field of intellectual, managerial, and creative
An employee can only be categorized as an exempt employee if the work duties meet the legal description under the California Labor Code. Otherwise, the employer cannot mislabel an employee as exempt simply by having the employee sign a contract stating that he/she agrees to be exempted or by paying the employee on a salary basis instead of on an hourly rate.
Employees vs. Independent Contractors
Differences between an employee and an independent contractor should be clear and not be taken lightly since mislabeling a worker’s category would create potential liability for employment taxes and penalties, and many legal obligations owed to an employee such as wage and hour requirements.
The difference between an employee and an independent contractor is as follows:
- Gets paid a regular wage
- Receives employee benefits, severance, workers compensation, etc.
- Has taxes withheld from wages
- Work schedule is dictated by the employer
- Gets paid per project or work done
- Does not receive any mandatory benefits given by the employer as required by the law
- Pays their taxes and is considered self-employed
- They work when and where they want
Pay Requirements for Employees Paid by Commissions and Bonuses
Commissions and bonuses are considered a form of salary or compensation under California law Labor Code Section 200. If an employee is paid through commission, the salary would be the earnings of the employee based on the percentage of the sale price of the product or service provided by the employee. An employee who is paid on a commission basis must have a written agreement or contract with the employer that discloses how the commission will be calculated and paid. For instance, if the employee’s commission is based on customer sales, the agreement might state that commissions are earned when the payment is received from the customer, and either the percentage of your commission would be from the total purchase price or the net profit, and the like.
Another form of salary or compensation is a bonus. Employee bonuses are either in the form of discretionary or non-discretionary. Discretionary bonuses are compensation paid in the form of gifts and rewards during the holidays and special occasions by the employer to the employee for their good service. This type of bonus is not determined by the employee’s work performance to evaluate if it should be given, take as an example the yearly Christmas bonus which is given to each employee. Non-discretionary bonuses are compensation earned by the employee and are given based on work performance policy, employment contract, and employer’s obligation. Non-discretionary bonuses are wages under California law and are due on scheduled pay dates as determined by employment contracts. If either commissions or non-discretionary bonuses are withheld, an employer is in violation of wage and hour laws and should be held liable for payment.
Pay Requirements for Employees Paid by Piece Rate
Employees compensated by piece rate are paid in a fixed amount for each project or unit produced or job done. The piece rate wage payment system is used in many different industries, such as truck driving, manufacturing, agricultural work, cleaning services, craftwork, and so on. Setting aside the output, all employees paid by piece rate must still earn at least a minimum wage for each pay period. They must also be paid separately for their time performing the work that does not earn piece-rate wages, like cleaning, waiting for orders, procuring parts, and so on with no less than the minimum wage.
Pay Requirements for Tips & Gratuities
Employees who receive tips or gratuities apart from their regular compensation have the right to keep any earned tips. Under California law, employers may not:
- Regulate or take any amount from the tips
- Deduct tips from the employee’s regular wages
- Require the employee to share tips with owners, managers, or supervisors
Any employer who commits the unlawful acts stated above can be charged with a misdemeanor that may lead to being sent to jail for 6 months and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
Tips and gratuities are any monetary value that is given to the employee by the customer and is excluded from the payment for the goods or services that the customer has purchased.
Pay Requirements for Meal and Rest Breaks
Under California law the employer is required to provide meal and rest breaks and to pay for some of this time. For meal breaks, employees get an unpaid 30-minute meal break if he/she has worked for five hours and another 30-minute meal break if they have worked for 10 hours. If the field of work prevents the employee from taking a break from all work tasks, the employee may be granted an on-duty meal period and be paid by the employer for this time.
For rest breaks, employees get a paid 10-minute rest break every 4 hours of work. If the nature of work permits, these rest breaks should be taken in the middle of the work period. Since rest breaks are counted as time worked and paid, employers can require that the break be taken on the work premises.
In abidance with California law, if an employer has failed to provide the employee with adequate meal and rest breaks, the employer has to pay for an additional hour of work at the employee’s regular rate of pay for each denied break.
Rounding Hours Can Be Illegal
California employers are required to pay their non-exempt employees for all hours worked and to provide regular wage statements that accurately indicate the total hours worked by the employee. However, a disagreement between the employer and the employee on how the hours be calculated, such as rounding hours, is a common problem employers are guilty of. Rounding hours is a practice where the employee’s worked hours are adjusted to the nearest increment of a certain amount, usually starting or stopping time to the nearest 5 minutes or a quarter of an hour. Rounding hours can be illegal if the employer consistently rounds the employee’s time down rather than up, and the result would be a decrease in hours causing a loss of pay.
Employers Must Reimburse Employees for Work-Related Expenses
In accordance with the California Labor Code Section 2802, employers are required to reimburse all the necessary expenses incurred by the employee in correspondence to their work duties. Failure to reimburse may result in a wage and hour lawsuit.
Work-related expenses that are recognized for reimbursement include
- Travel expenses including driving costs while working and mileage reimbursement
- Use of personal mobile for business transactions
- Conference fees and registrations
- Charge of tailoring a work uniform
- Cost in related to entertaining business associates or business deals/meetings
- Shipping cost in delivering documents, goods, etc.
- Training expenses
Employers Must Provide a Pay Stub
California employers are required to provide their employees a wage statement or most known as a pay stub. Pay period regulations require that the pay stubs be given either semi-monthly or at the time of each payday. In each pay stub of the employee, the following information must be itemized:
- Total earnings before tax
- Total worked hours within the pay period, including overtime
- Total deductions which include taxes, social security, disability insurance or health insurance, unfiled absence or leave, and so on
- After-tax income earned within the pay period
- The onset and end of the pay period
- The full name and address of the employer or the company that the employee works for
If the employer leaves out any certain information or the pay stubs indicates incorrect computation and primary details, they may be in violation of the California labor laws and can be penalized.
Employers Must Pay All Wages Due at the End of Employment
According to California Labor Code Section 201-203, prompt payment of all wages due at the end of employment, regardless of the reason for termination is mandatory. For employees who will be resigning, the final paycheck must be given within 72 hours upon submission of their notice of resignation. For employees who are laid off, the final paycheck must be given on the same day of the termination.
If the employer has intentionally failed to pay all due wages to a terminated employee in the established time frame, regardless of the reason for termination, a waiting time penalty may be imposed which will be equivalent to the employee’s daily rate of pay for each day the final check remains unpaid up to a maximum of 30 days.
Compensation for Wage and Hour Violations
Dealing with an unlawful employer who has violated your rightful wage and hour compensation can be a stressful battle to win over. You may find comfort and assurance in filing a lawsuit with a trusted and experienced wage and hour attorney from Mesriani Law Group, who can help you recover:
- All wages owed to you by your employer based on the minimum wage rate, overtime pay, unpaid commissions, and so on that apply to your situation
- Penalties on the wages that were wrongfully held back by your employer
- Attorney fees, court fees, and litigation costs
Contact a Wage and Hour Attorney at Mesriani Law Group
Having a trusted and well-experienced wage and hour attorney will maximize your chances of recovering the compensation that you lost from your unlawful employer. Mesriani Law Group has a well-proven track record that shows just that and our commitment to helping our clients. Give us a call today for a free consultation at (310) 826-6300 or message us online to schedule a free consultation.
Wage and Hour Lawyer FAQs
What does wage and hour discrimination look like?
Wage and hour discrimination takes many forms and is usually viewed as a complicated issue to tackle between an employer and an employee. This is typically rooted from the employer’s discrimination in paying an employee based on a protected characteristic and results in violations such as:
• Unpaid worked hours and overtime pay
• Failure to provide the correct rate of payment for worked hours and overtime
• Pressuring employees to work as “on-call” without pay
• Failure to pay minimum wage
• Depriving employees with legal rest and meal breaks
• Denying employees a copy of their legal paychecks
• Nonpayment of outstanding wages upon termination of employment
• Non-remittance of work-related expenses that the employee paid
• Holding back payment of bonuses, benefits, commissions, tips, etc.
• Wrongly classifying employees as independent contractors or as exempt employees
What is the minimum wage for Los Angeles, CA?
The federal government together with the state of California has set a minimum wage that the employers are required to pay to each of their employees. And as of 2022 the minimum wage for Los Angeles, California is currently $15.00 per hour.
Why do people hesitate to report wage and hour fraud?
Being employed and staying employed is a consideration that employees consider. This makes it difficult when an employee experiences and reports an unlawful event because fear of retaliation and eventually being terminated exists.