Incidents of wage theft are nothing new in the State of California. Indeed, many employers still commit violations to the state’s labor laws, wherein they either deliberately or unintentionally deny workers their labor rights. If you are a non-exempt worker in California, you know that you are a victim of wage theft if you have not been paid of your minimum wage and overtime wages. You are likewise a victim of wage theft if you have been denied meal and rest breaks, as well as denied tips. If this happens to you, it is important that you are aware of your rights and that you must take action of your situation right away.
Under the California Labor Code and the wage orders from the Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC), you can bring your wage and hour-related claims against your employer by either filing a wage claim through the state’s Labor Commissioner or by hiring a Los Angeles labor attorney who can assist you in establishing a civil suit. Either of these two legal options can help you recover the wages that are owed to you.
Meanwhile, in responding to your employer’s wage and hour violations, you can actually file various claims, depending on your situation. In general, you file a wage claim, but there are actually specifics to it. Indeed, here are some of the various wage and hour-related claims that you can file as a California worker:
- Wage claim for unpaid overtime. Under California law, a non-exempt employee is entitled to overtime pay, which is 1.5 times the regular rate of pay. Overtime is paid if you work for over 8 hours a day or over 40 hours in a workweek. If you have been misclassified as an independent contractor or as an exempt (salaried) worker, then your employer most likely did it to prevent it from paying you overtime. In that case, you need to file such claim with the Labor Commissioner or with the help of your chosen legal counsel.
- Wage claim for minimum wage. Under California law, a non-exempt employee must be paid for all of his or her hours worked at the minimum wage rate of $9.00 per hour. If you are being paid less than that, then it is important that you file a wage claim that would entitled you to recover the difference of the amount you have been receiving for all your hours worked and the amount you should have been making at minimum wage. Apart from that, you may also be entitled to recover liquidated damages, which is equal to the amount of wages that your employer owes you.
- Wage claim for your missed meal breaks or rest periods. Under California law, a non-exempt employee must be given an unpaid 30-minute lunch break for every 5 hours worked. Likewise, he or she must be afforded a paid 10-minuite rest period for every 4 hours. When you file a claim for missed meal or rest periods, you may be able to recover additional pay equivalent to one hour of pay.
- Wage claim for doubletime pay. Under California law, doubletime wages are given to a non-exempt employee if he or she works more than 12 hours in a workday. The rate of pay should be twice his or her regular rate of pay. Like the minimum wage and overtime claims, it is important that you file a doubletime pay claim if the wages you received are not double your regular rate of pay.