Sacramento Wage and Hour Attorney

Sacramento Wage & Hour Lawyer

In California, employees are entitled certain legal rights that include the right to minimum wage, overtime, meal and rest breaks, vacation pay, and other benefits.

If you believe your employer has violated your rights, you may have a legal case. At the Arnold Law Firm, our Sacramento wage and hour attorneys strongly advocate for fair labor rights for workers and will fight to help you obtain the justice and compensation you deserve. Since 1975, we have helped workers resolve labor disputes with their employers. We will provide you with a free, no obligation consultation to determine if you have legal options to recover the wages you are owed. All of our work is provided at no upfront cost and we only charge a fee if you receive compensation for your claim.

Complete a Free Case Evaluation form today.

Wage and Hour Laws

There are several laws in the state of California that are intended to protect workers from negligent employers. These laws include those outlined in the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the California Labor Code.

Fair Labor Standards Act

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law that establishes rules and standards for employers on how they are supposed to treat their employees.

Under the FLSA, employees in the private sector and in federal, state and local governments are entitled to fair treatment and compensation. This includes the right to be paid a minimum wage and receive overtime compensation at a rate of one and one-half times their usual rate of pay.

Additionally, the FLSA establishes a difference between several categories of workers that can receive the benefits and protections provided by this law. This includes differentiating exempt and non-exempt workers, as well as independent contractors and employees.

A skilled wage and hour attorney in Sacramento will know the requirements that employers are supposed to follow under the FLSA. He or she will understand when an employee’s rights have been violated and when you may be entitled to compensation for a valid wage and hour complaint.

California Labor Code

In addition to the federal protections and laws outlined in the FLSA, the state of California also has its own laws and protections outlined in the California Labor Code.

This is a collection of labor laws designed to promote and develop the welfare of California workers, improve their working conditions, and advance their opportunities for profitable employment. Our Sacramento wage and hour attorneys have a strong understanding of the California Labor Code. We are capable of identifying when an employer has violated one of these laws and is liable for compensating an employee for his or her lost wages.

Call (916) 777-7777 if you believe your employer violated your rights.

Employee Misclassification

Unfortunately, despite the many laws and rules in place to protect employees and ensure their right to fair pay, many employers violate these important protections. One common wage and hour violation that employers often make is employee misclassification.

Exempt vs. Non-Exempt

Certain employees are “exempt” from the FLSA and are not covered by the benefits and protection it provides. Other employees are considered “non-exempt” and are entitled to benefits provided by the law.

Often, employers will misclassify employees as being exempt from the FLSA to deny them overtime compensation and other benefits. However, the FLSA has three clear qualifications that must be met for an employee to be considered exempt:

  • The employee must make $913 per week, or $47,476 per year
  • The employee’s primary duties must be managing the company or a department or subdivision of the company
  • The employee must have an executive, administrative or managerial job title

An employee can only be exempt from overtime if his or her job meets all three of these requirements.

For example, an employer may claim that you are exempt after being promoted to a position with a managerial title. However if you earn less than $913 per week and are not required to perform managerial duties, you may have a valid wage and hour claim against your employer.

Employee vs. Independent Contractor

Another common type of employee misclassification is between an employee and contractor. This often happens because independent contractors are not entitled to the same rights as employees.

An employee is someone who is officially employed by the company he or she works for and is entitled to benefits provided under the FLSA. In contrast, an independent contractor is someone who has been hired to perform a specific service and is separate from the company that hired him or her. Independent contractors are not entitled to the same benefits as employees, including FLSA coverage.

If you believe you have been misclassified as an independent contractor, do not hesitate to contact our Sacramento wage and hour lawyers. To determine if you are misclassified, we will review:

  • The degree of control you have over your own work
  • The level of loss between you and the company that hired you
  • Whether you paid for your own materials, supplies and/or equipment
  • The type of skill that is required for the work
  • The level of security or permanence of your employment
  • Your role within the business and the importance of your position

Additionally, our wage and hour attorneys in Sacramento will determine which party had the right to control the course and manner in which your work was completed. When the hiring party controls the way work is performed and how the final product is delivered, the relationship between the two parties is that of an employer and employee. However, if the hiring party does not have any control over how the worker accomplishes a task and only provides a deadline, the worker is likely an independent contractor.

Our Sacramento wage and hour lawyers are well-versed in the many laws that protect workers’ right to fair pay and will help you determine if you have legal options.

Call (916) 777-7777 if your employment status has been misclassified.

The Right to Minimum Wage

All employees covered by the FLSA are entitled to the federal minimum wage. However, many states, including California, have also established their own minimum wage for non-exempt employees.

As of 2018, the minimum wage in California is $10.50 per hour for employers with 25 employees or less. If an employer has more than 26 employers, the minimum wage is $11.00 per hour.

California’s minimum wage will continue to increase by $1 each year until 2023, when the minimum wage will cap at $15 per hour.

Employees who are not receiving at least minimum wage for the work they do may be entitled to file a wage and hour claim against their employer. Contact the Arnold Law Firm to learn more.

Overtime Compensation

Non-exempt workers in California are entitled to overtime compensation of one and one-half times their regular rate of pay for each hour they work past eight hours in one day, or for any hours that exceed 40 hours in one work week.

Additionally, an employee in California is entitled to double time if he or she works more than 12 hours in one day. If an employee works all seven days in one work week, the employee is entitled to receive pay of one and one-half times his or her regular rate for the first eight hours worked on the seventh consecutive day of work in any workweek, and twice his or her regular rate of pay for hours worked in excess of eight on the seventh day.

For example, if you work 14 hours in a single shift, your employer must provide you twice the amount of your regular hourly wage for two hours. Likewise, if you work for more than eight hours in a shift after working for seven consecutive days, you are entitled to one and one-half of your regular rate of pay for the first eight hours and double time for each additional hour.

If you believe you have not been paid overtime or double time, a wage and hour attorney in Sacramento can review your claim to help determine the compensation you are owed.

Mandatory Breaks

In California, employers must follow the state’s mandatory break law by providing non-exempt workers with opportunities to take meal and rest breaks.

First 30-Minute Meal Break

California employees cannot work for a period of more than five hours without being provided with an unpaid, off-duty meal of at least 30 minutes. The first meal period must be provided no later than the end of the employee’s fifth hour of work.

Second 30-Minute Meal Break

Additionally, employees must be provided with a second 30-minute meal break for all workdays on which an employee works more than 10 hours. The meal break must be provided no later than the employee’s 10th hour of work.

However, an employee can waive or refuse a second meal period if the employee:

  • Worked no more than 12 hours on that workday
  • Has a mutual agreement with the employer to waive the second break
  • Did not waive the first meal break of the workday

On-Duty Meal Breaks

Under certain circumstances, an employee can take on-duty meal breaks. However, an on-duty meal break can be approved only if all of the following conditions have been met:

  • The nature of the employee’s work prevents him or her from being relieved of all work-related duties
  • There is a written agreement between the employer and employee
  • The employee is paid for the meal break
  • The employee can waive the paid meal break at any time

10-Minute Rest Break Obligations

Employers must provide non-exempt employees uninterrupted rest breaks if they work more than 3.5 hours in a workday.

These mandatory rest breaks must be offered at the rate of 10 minutes for every four hours worked. Employers must treat mandatory rest breaks as hours worked and continue to pay employees who take a rest break.

If you were denied break or meal time,
complete a Free Case Evaluation form.

Wage Theft

If an employer fails to provide a worker with the pay that he or she is owed for the work he or she has done, the employee or former employee may file a wage claim to recover:

  • Unpaid wages
  • Wages paid by check issued with insufficient funds
  • Unreceived final paycheck
  • Unused vacation hours that were not paid upon termination of employment
  • Unauthorized deductions of the employee’s paycheck
  • Unpaid/non-reimbursed business expenses
  • Reporting time pay/split shift premiums
  • Reimbursement for failing to receive minimum wage for each hour worked
  • Sick leave pay for time accrued and used for which you were not paid

Employers are required to keep adequate records of your employment and all hours worked to ensure you are adequately compensated for each work week.

Our attorneys will review your employment records to determine the hours you worked and the wages that were withheld. If your employer failed to keep adequate records of your employment, it is in violation of the FLSA and can be held liable for the full amount of compensation you are owed, plus interest and penalties.

For skilled legal representation for a wage theft claim, call (916) 777-7777.

California Fair Pay Act

The California Fair Pay Act went into effect in 2016 and makes it illegal for employers to pay unequal wages to men and women who perform the same work by:

  • Requiring equal pay for employees who perform similar work when viewed as a combination of skill, effort and responsibility
  • Eliminating the requirement that the employees being compared work at the “same establishment”
  • Making it more difficult for employers to fulfill the “bona fide factor other than sex” defense, which initially meant an employee must prove that a comparable employee of the opposite gender makes more money performing equal work, requiring equal skill, effort and responsibility
  • Ensuring that any pay difference between male and female employees is based on legitimate qualifications and not discriminatory factors
  • Stating that employers cannot retaliate against employees who seek to file a claim for wage discrimination
  • Extending the amount of time that employers must keep employees’ wage records from two to three years

In addition to ensuring equal wages between genders, the California Fair Pay Act includes race and ethnicity as protected categories. This means an employer cannot pay its employees less than employees of another race or ethnicity for substantially similar work.

If you believe you are paid unequal wages compared to other employees with similar qualifications, work duties and experience because of your gender, race or ethnicity, contact our Sacramento wage and hour attorneys.

We will investigate the facts of your claim, including your wages, job duties, skill and experience to determine if you were paid unequal wages.

Complete a Free Case Evaluation form to get started.

How to File a Wage Claim in California

Our Sacramento wage and hour lawyers will help you determine the appropriate method for submitting your claim for recovery of wages. In many cases, our Sacramento wage and hour attorneys can negotiate a settlement with the employer without a formal claim. In other cases, a lawsuit may be appropriate. After reviewing your case, a wage and hour attorney can make recommendations about how to present the claim.

If you believe you are owed unpaid wages by your employer, a wage and hour attorney in Sacramento can also help you file a wage claim with the Department of Industrial Relations Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE).

In order to file a wage claim, you must complete the Initial Report of Claim (DLSE Form 1) and the DLSE Form 55 if your work hours and/or days of work varied or were irregular and you are claiming unpaid wages or meal and rest period violations.

Our Sacramento wage and hour lawyers will help you determine the estimated number of hours you worked and help you accurately complete these forms.

Once we have determined the amount of compensation you may be owed, we will help you submit the “Initial Report of Claim” form and one copy of the following documents, if available: 

  • Time records, including any copies of your records hours and dates that you worked that you believe support your claim.
  • Paychecks and pay stubs that show the wages you were paid during your claim period.
  • Bounced paychecks, if you were paid with a paycheck that could not be cashed because your employer had insufficient funds in the check’s account.
  • Notice of employment information, if you received a notice from your employer after Jan. 1, 2012 that indicates your employment information including your rate of pay, overtime rate of pay, your pay increments and your payment period.

Settlement Conference

After submitting the Initial Report of Claim to the DIR, you will receive a Notice from the Labor Commissioner scheduling a time and date for a “Conference” in which the DLSE will discuss your claim with you and whether you have a valid case. The Conference will also provide you a chance to settle your claim with your employer.

Hearing

If you are unable to settle your claim at the Conference and you have a legal case to proceed to a hearing, you will receive a Notice from the Labor Commissioner scheduling a date and time for a hearing on your claim.

Your attorney will need to present evidence to prove your claim, such as testimony from you and witnesses or supporting documents, if available. If you have documents to support your claim, such as old paychecks or time cards, bring the original documents and two sets of copies to the hearing.

Your Sacramento wage and hour lawyer should be able to obtain copies of your employment record and testimony from witnesses to construct a strong case to support your claim.

Call (916) 777-7777 for qualified help filing a wage claim in California.

How to File an FLSA Claim

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) is responsible for enforcing the FLSA and pursues employers that violate these laws.

If you believe your employer violated the FLSA, you can report your employer to the WHD. In order to file an FLSA claim, you will need to provide the WHD with:

  • Your name, address and phone number
  • The name, location and phone number of the company where you worked
  • The name of the manager, supervisor or owner the WHD should speak to
  • The type of work you did
  • Your regular pay period and how you were paid (cash or check)

The WHD may ask for additional information and employment records, such as your pay stubs, personal records of the hours you worked or other material about your employer.

Our Sacramento wage and hour attorneys are familiar with the WHD’s complaint process and will help you file a claim against an employer who violated the FLSA. We will help you gather all necessary documents to support your claim and direct you to the local WHD field office to file an in-person complaint.

Call (916) 777-7777 for qualified legal help.

Schedule a Free Consultation with a Sacramento Wage and Hour Attorney

Sacramento Wage & Hour Lawyers

If you believe your wages have been withheld or you were inadequately compensated by your employer, a skilled wage and hour attorney in Sacramento can provide you valuable assistance with your claim.

At the Arnold Law Firm, our Sacramento wage and hour attorneys have fought for the rights of numerous unfairly treated employees. We are prepared to defend your claim against your negligent employers to help you recover the wages you are owed.

If you have not received the wages you have earned, contact our legal team for a free, no obligation consultation. We can discuss the circumstances surrounding your wage and hour complaint and represent your claim at no upfront cost. We work on a contingency fee basis and only require payment if you recover wages for your claim.

Complete a Free Case Evaluation form or call (916) 777-7777
to schedule a free consultation.