Wage and Hour Claims

wage hour claims

Workers, whether they are performing their duties and responsibilities on a full time, part time, piece, or commission basis, receive compensation or remuneration, also known generally as wages, for all their work they’ve performed. In California, all wage-related matters can be found in the state’s Labor Code as well as in various statutes and regulations enforced by various federal and state government agencies. Every employer in California covered by these laws has the responsibility to ensure that their workers are paid for their hours worked correctly and promptly. It is also the employer’s obligation to allot their workers with the needed time to take their meals and make use of spare time within working hours to rest. In all, compliance with the prevailing laws puts into account the workers’ rights.

Unfortunately, not all employers in California are aware of the wage and hour rights of their workers, disregarding the fact that their questionable practices when it comes to compensating them violate the labor laws. From the state’s Labor Code to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the laws themselves have established not only just the basic labor standards, but also strict penalties and sanctions for those found to commit certain violations to these laws. Fortunately, the entities that enforce the wage and hour laws, from the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to California’s Department of Industrial Relations (DIR), ensure that they keep an eye on willful violators, recommending proper sanctions and handing down penalties.

The rampant instances of labor law violations easily reflect on the number of California wage and hour claims being filed by employees who believed they’ve been owed compensation for their hours worked. Typical violations alleged by employees in their claims include the following:

  • Filing for workers’ compensation claim.
    Workers who suffered work-related injuries may file claims of workers compensation. However, there are some employers who decide not to help them, instead terminating them or subjecting them to any adverse employment action. Some of them even think that their injured workers are trying to collect from the private insurance’s benefits by faking their injuries.
  • Claiming for wages owed due to employer’s failure to provide minimum wage.
    In California right now, the state rate for minimum wage is at $8.00, but due to the recent law that would increase the rate, by July, it would be at the rate of $9.00. However, there are employers that disregard this very basic requirement, wherein they usually pay their workers on a delayed basis. Some also unlawfully deduct their wages even after they compensation has been given to them.
  • Claiming for wages owed due to employer’s failure to provide overtime payments.
    Aside from the minimum wage owed, some workers file their wage claims for unpaid overtime. Basically, overtime is one and one-half times the regular rate of pay for hours worked over 40 hours in a workweek, and is usually given to those who are categorized as non-exempt.
  • Claiming for unpaid overtime due to misclassifications.
    This common wage and hour violation happens when an employer decides to misclassify a non-exempt (overtime-paid) employee as an exempt (salary-paid, no overtime) employee. Employers involved often state that the reason for doing so is to cut costs, however, the law prohibits misclassification of employee.

Employees subjected to employer practices that violate the laws on wages and hours must know that they can still assert their rights to obtain unpaid compensation for their employers’ failure to provide minimum wage, overtime, and meal and rest breaks. In any other labor dispute, it is imperative that they file their wage and hour claims in California through the various state departments, as well as with the help of labor law attorneys.

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