What Are Some Of The Common Types Of Cases Involving Unpaid Overtime That Your Firm Handles?
Unpaid overtime happens in a variety of settings in California that differ from federal law. Under federal law, there is generally one way to have overtime, and it’s if you work more than 40 hours in one week. In California, there are a few ways to have overtime: you can work more than 40 hours in one week, you can work more than eight hours in one day, or you can work more than six consecutive days in a row. In each of those scenarios, you’ll be going into overtime.
Many of the cases we handle involve an employer who didn’t pay overtime or calculated wages incorrectly when it came to the overtime or double-time. An employee can actually work less than 40 hours in a week (they could work one day a week for ten hours) and be entitled to overtime. Oftentimes, an employer will not consider that and won’t pay them because the employee only worked, say, 38 hours in the week.
We see a lot of unpaid overtime in cases where an employer misclassifies the employee as exempt from overtime. In California, every employee is entitled to overtime unless you meet an exemption, such as if you’re an executive-level employee or a professional employee or you’re in management. One of the errors that a lot of employers make is to say, “I am going to put you on salary, and now that you are on salary, you are exempt,” and that’s not quite how it goes. For somebody to be exempt, they actually have to be on a salary that earns at least double the minimum wage as a baseline without any deduction, and they have to be working in an exempt activity (either managing other employees more than half of the time or operating in an administrative or executive capacity). It can’t just be that any employee who is paid a salary is then exempt from overtime because that’s inherently unfair, which is what the law intends to address.
In many cases, employers will misclassify an employee, and then, it turns out that employee is owed a whole lot of overtime because they were working ten to 12 hours a day and only getting paid the salary that was commensurate with the 40-hour work week or an eight-hour day.
Can My Employer In California Make Me Work Overtime?
An employer can make you work overtime as long as they pay you the appropriate overtime wage. There is nothing in the law that says an employer cannot force you to work overtime or that you can only work overtime if you volunteer to do so. If the requirements of your job or your employer is that you work overtime, you could be disciplined for not working that overtime.
Does It Matter If I Never Reported It Or Asked For Overtime?
It doesn’t matter. It’s the employer’s obligation to pay you overtime and to pay you correctly for all hours worked. Employers are in a better position to calculate those wages and to know how they’re calculated by law. Many employers have payroll companies that they hire to calculate wages or they have time clocks to keep track. If it turns out that an employer doesn’t have a good record of the hours you worked, then your best estimate of how many hours you worked can be used as evidence. Overall, the burden is really on the employer.
Does It Matter If I Did Not Obtain My Employer’s Prior Approval To Work The Overtime?
For the purpose of getting paid, it doesn’t matter. If you worked those hours, you should get paid for them. However, if your employer has a policy that says you must get approval before you work overtime and you violate that policy, your employer can actually discipline you, even up to termination, for forcing them to incur overtime expenses. Nonetheless, they’re still required to pay you for that time.
For more information on Employment Law in California, a 30 minute case evaluation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (213) 257-8999 today.
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