Unpaid Wages and Overtime
In California, if you are a hourly (“non-exempt”) employee, you must be paid at least the minimum wage, as well as, time and a half for all hours worked in excess of 8 hours per day or 40 hours per week.If you are wrongly denied overtime pay, you are entitled to file a class action lawsuit against your employer for damages caused by their failure to pay you all of the wages you are owed for the work you have performed.
If you were not paid your fair wages, an unpaid wages lawyer at The Cooper Law Firm can help by providing you with a free case evaluation. Contact us today for help.Wrongly Classified as Exempt From Overtime
One of the most common causes of complaints of unpaid or underpaid wages is the misclassification of an employee as exempt from overtime.
State and federal overtime regulations vary from industry to industry and employers often misclassify employees, either intentionally or accidentally. This often results in a failure to pay overtime wages to the employee.
Because there are so many exemptions that can apply and because the legal tests can be rather confusing, it is best to have an unpaid overtime attorney evaluate your duties if you think your employer has misclassified you as exempt.
Some industries where misclassification of employees and failure to pay overtime are frequently occurring problems include:
- Retail managers;
- Truck drivers;
- Software engineers;
- Project managers; and
- Workers in industries that pay on a commission or piece rate basis
Another source of complaints regarding unpaid or underpaid wages is related to the misclassification of an employee as an independent contractor.
Workers who are truly independent contractors are exempt from being paid overtime. However, employers often have difficulty distinguishing between workers who should be classified as independent contractors and those who should not.
In order to determine if you should be classified as an independent contractor or an employee, courts will evaluate a number of different factors, such as:
- The degree of control your employer has over how you do your job;
- The amount of skill required to do your job;
- Whether you or your employer supplies the tool you need for your job;
- Your place of work;
- The method of payment;
- Whether or not the work you do is part of the regular business activities of the company; and
- Whether you and your employer intended to create an independent contractor relationship.
Some industries are well-known for misclassifying workers as independent contractors, they include:
- Construction workers;
- Truck drivers;
- Delivery drivers;
- Hospitality workers; and
- Computer programmers.
Once again, if you believe you have been misclassified as an independent contractor and as a result have not been paid all of your wages, it is advisable to contact an employment law attorney to assist you in evaluating your claim.Compensation For Your Unpaid Wages
California employment laws have been written to protect employees who have been misclassified as either exempt employees or independent contractors and who have not received all of the wages they are owed.
You are, therefore, entitled to recover not only all of the wages and benefits that have been unlawfully withheld from you, which can easily amount to thousands of dollars, but also:
- Monetary penalties provided by the Labor Code;
- Reasonable attorney’s fees;
- The costs associated with bringing the lawsuit against your employer; and
- In some cases, substantial punitive damages.
If you believed that you have not been paid all of the wages you are lawfully entitled to be paid, you should discuss your case with an experienced unpaid wages attorney in Orange County.
We have fought on behalf of over 500,000 class members to secure more than $200,000,000. Contact us for help now.