Wage and Hour Violations
- Overtime violations
- Working Off the Clock
- Meal and Rest Breaks
- Misclassification as Salaried and Exempt
Hourly employees who work more than 8 hours in a day or 40 hours in a week are entitled to time-and-a-half, which is the overtime rate of pay in California.
Many employees do not realize that they are entitled to be paid for time working "off the clock." For example, an employer cannot require an employee to go through security checks, go to a different location, wait to be shuttled to or from a job site, or change required clothing before clocking in or after clocking out. Likewise, employees cannot be required to attend mandatory training or meetings while off the clock.
Most employees are entitled to no less than 30 minutes of meal breaks for periods of more than five hours (with some exceptions for shifts under 6 hours with mutual consent), while employees working more than 12 hours are entitled to two uninterrupted meal breaks. California law provides for 30 minute uninterrupted meal breaks for most hourly employees. "Uninterrupted" breaks means the employee is relieved of all duties during the meal break period. For example, if an employee is answering phone calls or working at their desk during a meal break period, they should be paid at their regular pay rate. If an employee has to remain on site during a meal break, this can also be considered an "on duty" break that the employer must pay.
Most hourly employees are entitled to one 10 minute uninterrupted rest break for every 4 hours worked. The rest break must occur as close as possible to the middle of each 4 hour period of work.
Another way many employers violate the rights of employees is by misclassifying an hourly employee as an "exempt" salaried employee to avoid paying the required overtime. For example, just giving someone a title such as "supervisor" or "manager" does not allow an employer to avoid wage and hour laws. No matter what their titles, employees are entitled to over-time pay and proper breaks if the law views them as hourly employees. Some factors courts review to make this determination include whether the employee completes the same tasks as the people they oversee more than 50% of the time, and how much money they are paid in relation to the rest of the company. There are also exceptions for IT and computer personnel.