Wage & Hour Dispute Attorneys in Los Angeles

Every employee has the right to be paid for their wages. This is one of the most basic foundations in an employer and employee relationship. Every employee has the lawful expectation that they will receive reimbursement for their employment. There are several laws that protect wage compensation, such as contracts, federal law, and California labor law. If you have not been paid for your employment in Los Angeles, contact our wage and hour claims attorneys today. 

Filing a claim for a wage and hour dispute could be very complex and have many different details that the employee must have to prove. Our experienced labor attorneys have been representing employment-related disputes for decades. If you or a loved one believe you have a wage-and-hour dispute with your employer, contact our Los Angeles attorneys today for a free no risk consultation. During This confidential consultation, we will review your claim and determine the types of damages you could potentially receive. 

Our experienced wage and hour attorneys will help fight for your rights to obtain the justice and compensation you deserve. With our free no obligation consultation, you will be able to receive the different legal options you could take to recover the wages you are owed. 

One of the most common concerns we receive is that many employees are afraid of speaking up for fear of retaliation by their boss. They would rather miss out on a single paycheck than  be fired for speaking up. This is called wrongful retaliation, and you may have a claim against your employer for wrongful retaliation if they engaged in adverse behavior against you for speaking up.

Minimum Wage Laws in California 

Effective January 1, 2022, the current minimum wage in California is  $14 for employers with 25 or fewer employees or $15 for employers who have 26 or more employees. It is illegal for an employer to pay an employee less than minimum wage. If you are being paid less than minimum wage by your employer, you may have a wage-and-hour dispute claim against your employer. This is initiated by filing a labor complaint against your employer. California’s minimum wage is set to increase every year by a single dollar between the years of 2017 and 2023.  

What if I have an agreement with my employer to receive less than the minimum wage in California?

It is illegal for an employer to offer an employee less than minimum wage. If you have signed a contract with your employer to receive a wage lower than the minimum wage, it is considered unlawful, and you still will have a claim against your employer. The minimum wage is considered to be the lowest amount an employee in California could receive. Minimum wage is not waiverable by the employee. 

Does the California minimum wage apply to everyone?

There are certain exceptions that the California minimum wage does not apply to.  The California minimum wage does not apply in positions where:

  • Students who are employees on campus
  • Camp counselors
  • Employees who are part of the National Service Program
  • A mental or physically handicapped employee who works in a rehabilitation facility
  • Independent contractors (as opposed to regular employees)

What should I do if my employer is paying me less than the minimum wage in Los Angeles?

If your employer is paying less than the minimum wage, you may have a claim against your employer with the help of an experienced Los Angeles wage and hour attorney.

What if my employer is paying several employees less than the minimum wage in Los Angeles?

 If your employer is paying several employees less than minimum wage, you may be able to file a class action lawsuit. A class action lawsuit occurs where a single attorney represents multiple parties that have the same damages and claims against a single employer. Contact us today if you believe you have a valid class action lawsuit claim against your employer. 

Minimum Wage Laws in Los Angeles 

As of July 1st 2021, the minimum wage in the city of Los Angeles is $15 an hour for employers who have 26 or more employees.  The minimum wage for employers who have between 1 to 25 employees in Los Angeles is $14.25. An employer cannot pay an employee less than what the minimum wage is. 

West Hollywood Minimum Wage 

Recently, the city of West Hollywood approved the highest minimum wage in America. The city of West Hollywood agreed to raise its minimum wage for workers to $17.64. 

Overtime Compensation in Los Angeles 

Non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime compensation for one and a half times their regular rate of pay. All employers must pay their employees overtime, whether they are authorized or not. 

Overtime pay is required when a non-exempt employee works more than 8 hours in a work day, works more than 40 hours in a work week, or works more than six consecutive days in a work week.

Who is not eligible for overtime?

In California, there are several different positions that are not eligible for overtime payment. This includes:

  • Exempt employees
  • Independent contractors
  • Unionized employees with a collective bargaining agreement
  • Employees who have an alternative workweek schedule

What is an exempt employee in California?

Exempt employees usually are not afforded California employee protections. An exempt employee is one who has a white collar job. This is considered a job that has administrative and professional duties. Usually, an exempt employee is one who manages several other employees.

Exempt employees usually have a fixed salary rather than an hourly wage. As of 2021, the minimum exempt salary was $50,240 per year for businesses who have less than 26 employees.  For businesses who have more than 26 employees, an exempt employee should be making a minimum of $62,400 per year. 

Employee Misclassification

One of the major reasons for wage and hour disputes are when the employer misclassified the employee. This occurs when the employer misclassified an employee to deny them the rights they are owed.

  • Exempt Versus non-exempt employees: Employers misclassify employees as being exempt in order to deny them overtime compensation and benefits. Employees who are exempt from the Federal Labor Standards Act are not entitled to any rights. An employee could only be exempt if they make $47,476 per year, the employees duties include managing the company, the employee has an executive or administrative job.
  • Employee vs. independent contractor: Employers also misclassify an employee as an independent contractor. This is because independent contractors do not have the same rights afforded to employees. An independent contractor is considered someone who has been hired to perform a specific service. They are considered to be separate from the company, and are not entitled to the same benefits as an employee does. In order to determine if you are an independent contractor or an employee, our employment law attorneys look at the degree of control you have over your work, the type of skills required for your work, your role within the company, the level of control between you and the company that hired you, and the amount of equipment that you have to buy for your work. This helps us determine who has the control of the work. If you have more control over your work than the employer, you are most likely considered an independent contractor.

What are the damages I could receive from a wage and hour dispute in Los Angeles?

There are several different types of compensation you could receive from being denied your right to your wages. This includes:

  • Unpaid wages plus wages (This is referred to as liquidated damages) 
  • Unpaid final paycheck
  • Unpaid business expenses
  • Unpaid sick leave
  • Reimbursement for the difference of minimum wage and the amount you were paid
  • Unused vacation hours that were not paid
  • Unauthorized deduction from the employee’s paycheck

Please note that this list is not exhaustive. There are several other categories of wages that you could potentially be entitled to depending on your situation. Our experienced employment law attorneys will review your records to determine what type of other compensation you could receive. You could also receive the full amount you are owed, plus interest and penalties depending on the violations that your employer has committed.

Statute of Limitations for Wage and Hour Disputes in Los Angeles 

The statute of limitations time limit for bringing a wage and hour dispute claim in Los Angeles is 3 years. This means that the employee has 3 years from the date of the violation to file the wage and hour dispute. If the plaintiff brings the wage and hour dispute claim against the defendant after the three years have passed, the plaintiff’s claim might get dismissed.

Examples of Wage and Hour Violations in California

Some examples of the most common types of wage violations include:

  • Meal breaks: employers are required to give 30-minute unpaid meal breaks for every 5 hours worked. According to the California Labor Standards Act, an employer must be able to give an allotted amount of time to their employee for a meal and rest break. If your employer has denied you a meal and rest break, contact our attorneys today to file a claim for wage and hour dispute.
  • Expense reimbursement: employers are required to reimburse employees for necessary expenses during the scope of their work. For example, this includes cell phones and laptops that the employee had to purchase while on the job.
  • Commissioned employees: employers have to pay commissioned employees minimum wage or overtime pay. If the employer denies paying a commissioned employee, the employee may have a claim for a wage-and-hour dispute.
  • Signing void releases:  an employer should never force an employee to sign release documents.
  • Withholding pay: if your employer withholds their employees pay after being terminated, you have a claim for a wage-and-hour dispute. Failing to pay wages upon termination could subject the employer to liability, especially penalties. Employers have to pay an employee a full day’s pay up to 30 days until all the unpaid wages are paid.

Wage and Hour Laws in California 

There are several different types of laws that address wage and hour regulations. This includes:

  • Federal Fair Labor Standards Act: this is a federal law that establishes the standards for employers and how they should treat their employees. The Federal Labor Standards Act establishes minimum wage and overtime compensation for employees. This act also describes the difference between exempt and nonexempt employees, along with independent contractors.
  • California Labor Code: these set of laws are designed to protect California workers and working conditions.

It is important that you hire a skilled employment law attorney that is well-versed in the above laws. An experienced Los Angeles employment law attorney must be able to understand which laws apply, and what legal claims they could potentially take in your case.

Would I still be entitled to a wage and hour dispute if I am an undocumented immigrant in Los Angeles?

Yes, federal and California wage-and-hour laws apply to employees and workers regardless of legal immigration status. Undocumented workers have the same wage and hour rights as other workers.

Common Wage & Hour Violations

Whether it’s out of greed or just plain ignorance, many employers in America violate these wage & hour laws every day. Below are some of the most common violations that occur across various industries in this country:

  • Misclassifying an employee as exempt when they are not. This type of misclassification denies an employee the rights they are owed as non-exempt employees such as overtime, minimum wage, and rest or meal break requirements.
  • Failing to pay the time-and-a-half rate for overtime when earned. All non-exempt employees are entitled to the overtime pay rate for every hour they work over 8 in a single day or over 40 in a single workweek. When employees are paid their standard pay or not at all for overtime hours worked, this is a serious violation of the wage & hour laws which an employee can file suit over.
  • Misclassifying an independent contractor as an employee or vice versa. An employee must “plainly and unmistakably” fit into the exempt category. In cases where there is any doubt as to whether an employee is exempt or not, the law generally requires a nonexempt classification of the employee.
  • Not providing employees with the bonuses they were promised or the commission they earned. Commission is defined as the wage that an employee is entitled to due to the sales they’ve secured. In some states such as California, only commissioned employees who meet the three requirements for exemption are exempt from the state’s overtime pay laws.
  • Failing to provide employees with compensation for work-related expenses.
  • Failing to provide employees with the meal or rest breaks they are required to be given by law, requiring employees to work through those breaks, or not paying them for working through those breaks. According to the Department of Labor, federal law does not require employers to provide employees with coffee or lunch breaks throughout the day. However, state laws in most of the country do require that these breaks be allowed.
  • Not paying employees the applicable prevailing wage or minimum wage applicable by law. For all employees who do not fall under the subminimum wage categories, which includes student-learners and students working full-time in higher education, agriculture, retail, or in the service industry, employers are required to provide pay that is adequate with state and federal minimum wage laws. Even if an employee falls under one of these minimum wage categories, an employer must get a certificate from the Wage and Hour Division before they can hire someone at subminimum wage.
  • Failing to pay an employee for all time they spent on the job. For nonexempt employees, if it takes a lab worker 10 minutes to prepare equipment for their shift before it starts, this is time that an employee must be compensated for by law. Training time, travel time, waiting and on-call time all qualify for compensation as well.

Schedule a Free Consultation with Our Wage-and-hour Attorneys

If you believe that your employer has withheld your wages, contact our skilled Los Angeles wage and hour attorneys in California for a free consultation. Our attorneys have decades of experience fighting for the rights of discriminated employees. We are prepared to defend your wage and hour claim against any negligent employers that have withheld payment. 

If you have not received your wages you are entitled to, contact our legal team for a no-obligation consultation. During this consultation, we will discuss the different circumstances surrounding your wage and hour complaint.