Central California Unpaid Wages Attorney
A Central California unpaid wages attorney will fight to secure your Wage and Hours Claims. Wage and hour claims can be complicated and confusing. Getting the help of a seasoned employment attorney like John F. McCarthy can make all the difference securing a favorable outcome.
Central California wage and hour attorneys, advise and represent employees with wage and hour claims for unpaid wages, unpaid overtime, improper deductions, wages owed at termination, bounced paychecks, missed rest periods and missed meal breaks, and minimum wage issues. California law provides for penalties for nonpayment, underpayment, failure to provide lawful break periods, and requiring employees to work more than seven consecutive days.
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Central California Wage & Hour Claims – Some Examples:
- Unpaid Wages – Employers sometimes fail to pay their employees their wages in a timely fashion.
- Overtime Pay – Unless exempt, employees are due overtime pay for working more than 40 hours per week.
- Working “Off-the-Clock” – If you were coerced to work off the clock without compensation, you might have a valid wage claim against your company. This includes refusing to pay workers for time spent donning and doffing uniforms or protective gear, and being transported to work locations.
- Missed Rest and Meal Breaks – Hourly employees who are not exempt, are required by law to receive a 30-minute meal break every 5-hours.
- Vacation Pay – In California, earned vacation time is considered wages, and vacation time is earned (vested) as labor is performed. Vested wages cannot be forfeited and must be paid to the employee even if the employer terminates the employee.
- Unpaid Work Expenses – If your employer failed to reimburse you for all job expenses you may have a valid wage claim.
Wage and hour claims are often both complicated and confusing. Having a Central California employment attorney on your side makes for a consistently better outcome than attempting to confront your employer on your own. Most employers have intimidating power, deep pockets and lawyers on staff, on retainer, or can afford to stall a case for months or years.
While it is common for employees to complain, they are not paid their overtime, commissions, or bonuses, it is surprising how often employees contact us because their employer has simply not paid them their regular weekly wages they are entitled to be paid. It may be that the employer has cash flow issues coming to light at the expense of their employees.
Under California and federal law, it is illegal for employers to not pay their workers on time. The consequences for an employer that is not paying wages in a timely manner can be severe. If you think you have a case of unpaid wages or consistently late payment of wages and other employment law violations, please fill out John’s Free, Confidential Case Evaluation Form. Today!
Employees experiencing Unpaid Wages issues are often entitled to:
- Interest on unpaid wages.
- Reasonable attorney’s fees.
- Reimbursement of the cost of their lawsuit.
Unpaid Wages is a big “Catch All” that includes: (1) failure to pay for hours worked, (2) failure to pay for overtime, (3) failure to pay for ‘off the clock’ work, (4) failure to allow employees legal rest breaks and meal breaks, (5) failure to pay earned vacation pay, (6) failure to pay employees for Work Expenses, and more.
Payment of wages is strictly governed by state and federal laws and regulations. These laws and regulations are extensive and complicated which is why — statistically — employees who attempt to take on their employer on their own are often not very successful. On the other hand, both employees and misclassified independent contractors who hire an employment attorney, will statistically enjoy more satisfying outcomes and larger, if not significantly larger (often news-making) financial settlements.
Nonexempt employees* who work more than 8-hours in a single work day or more than 40-hours total in any workweek MUST be paid one-and-a-half times the regular rate of pay: twice the regular rate of pay for any hours in excess of 12-hours in a single day. Moreover, if an employee works more than 6 consecutive days in one work week, on the 7th consecutive day, overtime pay is twice the regular rate of pay after the 8th hour. Some classes of employees can be exempt from overtime pay depending upon their job duties — not their job title.
Employees in these categories may be exempt:
- Executive employees who supervise 2 or more other employees, administrative employees and professional employees who receive a regular salary of at least 2.5 times the minimum wage and exercise “discretion and independent judgment” in their job duties.
- Outside sales persons
- Computer professionals
BE ADVISED – It is commonplace for employers to intentionally misclassify employees so they can avoid paying legally-required overtime.
Working “Off – The – Clock”
Are you being paid for all hours you work?
An employee who is expected to work before or after their scheduled work time without being paid, is known as working “off-the-clock”. Failing to pay employees for off-the-clock work is a common violation of California and Federal wage and hour laws.
By law, employees are entitled to compensation for every hour of work that they perform. It is not uncommon for employers to sometimes ask employees to work through state and federally mandated rest periods and meal breaks. Nor is it uncommon for employers to fail to pay an employee for time spent training or traveling for work.
Examples of off-the-clock work violations:
- Required to change in to and out of uniform or safety gear at work while without pay.
- Required to attend pre-shift meetings without pay.
- Required to turn on lighting, start-up equipment, or start-up computers before start of your shift without pay.
- Required to check email or voicemail while not on the clock and without pay.
- Required to clock out before performing store closing work or lock up.
- Required to clock out for legally-required rest periods or meal breaks.
- Required to clock out to perform work-related errands such as supply runs.
Missed Rest Periods and Meal Breaks
Employees are entitled to rest periods and uninterrupted meal breaks under BOTH California and federal law in most instances if they are hourly (nonexempt) workers. If your employer expects you to work without pay during your meal break time, your employer is violating labor law. “Working” includes an employer’s casual suggestion that the employee shall hang out in the office while eating to “cover the phones”… Similarly, if you have been denied regular rest periods, that too is a violation of labor law.
REST PERIODS – In California, employers must provide a paid rest period that is a minimum of 10-minutes for each 4-hours of work time. Employers, in many fields, have the flexibility to stagger the rest periods to avoid interruption in the flow of work.
MEAL BREAKS – California employees who work 5 or more hours are entitled to a meal break of at least 30-minutes. If the employee is totally free to leave the employer’s premises and no work duties are required or expected, then meal breaks need not be paid. However, if the employer expects the employee to remain in the workplace, “watch the phones,” or anything else that is “work-related”, the meal break MUST BE PAID time.
If your employer has taken advantage of you, employment attorney, John F. McCarthy can: (1) file a wage claim with the Labor Commissioner, (2) file a lawsuit against your employer, or (3) privately negotiate a settlement on your behalf with the understanding that both options #1 and #2 are on the table if a fast, fair, and satisfactory settlement is not reached.
In California, there is no legal requirement for an employer to provide its employees with either paid or unpaid vacation time. However, if an employer has a policy to provide paid vacation, that vacation time is considered a form of wages earned by the employee. Among other things, that means that accrued vacation time cannot expire and must be paid out to an employee upon termination or separation from the employer — regardless of the reason for the termination. (Suastez v. Plastic Dress Up (1982) 31 C3d 774)
Unpaid Work Expenses
California employers are required to do their best to reimburse their employees for reasonable work-related expenses.
Common questions we receive regarding Work Expenses include:
- Employees’ Personal Vehicles – If an employee is required to use his or her personal vehicle for work (other than getting to and from work), California law requires that the employee is to be reimbursed for that expense.
- Tools and Equipment – The California Industrial Welfare Commission prohibits employers from requiring employees to pay for tools and equipment used when working — with some exceptions. Those limited exceptions are where employers can require employees to purchase their own hand tools and equipment IF (1) the employee earns twice the minimum wage, and (2) the hand tools and equipment are customary to their trade.
- Uniforms – If an employer requires an employee to wear a uniform that is specific to the place of employment (i.e. has the companies’ LOGO), the California Industrial Welfare Commission requires the employer to provide and maintain the uniform, including paying for laundering and repair. That said, an employer can require its employees to provide their own uniforms that are not employer-specific, such as black pants and black shirt for a restaurant hostess or a medical staff member’s off-the-shelf scrubs.
- Cell Phones – If an employer requires its employees to use their personal cell phones for work, California law requires the employer to reimburse a reasonable percentage of the employees’ cell phone bills.
Contingency Fee Arrangement | “NO WIN – NO FEE”
McCarthy Law offers a “NO WIN – NO FEE” contingency fee arrangement for most employment cases. That empowers you to tap into the power of being represented by a respected employment law firm which helps the “Little Guy” level the playing field. Having an unpaid wages employment law firm on your side makes the individual employee as powerful as the employer.
A lone employee can wield significant legal power with no money out of pocket! Not only can you exert power, you can start your employment case immediately by hiring a premier employment law firm with a reputation for taking on the biggest private-sector companies as well as powerful state and federal employers.
If McCarthy Law agrees to take your unpaid wages (wage and hours case) on a contingency fee arrangement, you will not be asked to pay anything in advance. In fact, only if McCarthy Law wins your case are there any costs, and then his charges are but a fraction of the award or settlement he helps you recover. Up until a settlement or award, there are NO costs to you whatsoever. Moreover, since attorney McCarthy’s charges will only be collected from the amount he recovers on your behalf, you can be certain that he is motivated to get you the most substantial monetary recovery possible.
Exploring Your Available Options with a Labor Law Attorney
John F. McCarthy, founder of McCarthy Law, is an experienced Central California labor law attorney. John knows that no two cases are ever the same. Because the details and circumstances of every wage and hours case are unique, so should be the employee’s available options to seek a satisfying outcome. Some procedural options that John might suggest to you as a plaintiff include:
- File a Federal lawsuit.
- File a civil lawsuit in California Superior Court.
- File an administrative complaint with the state Labor Commissioner’s Office.
- Negotiate a private settlement of your wage and hours claims directly with your employer — without involving the Labor Board or courts.
Tell Us About Your Case – GET A RESPONSE IN 24-HRS
To learn more about your available options in an unpaid wages case, the founder of McCarthy Law, California wage disputes lawyer John F. McCarthy, will personally evaluate your case using McCarthy Law’s FAST, FREE, Confidential Case Evaluation.
Click/Press to have Attorney McCarthy personally EVALUATE YOUR CASE ! Even on the busiest court days, founding attorney John McCarthy sets aside time to review the case submissions from Central California employees to determine if they have a valid, actionable employement law case.
McCarthy Lawis a California based employment law firm that aggressively represents employees who have become victims of unpaid wages, unpaid overtime and other wage and hour violations.
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Experience Counts and the experienced and hard working team at McCarthy Law will put their experience to work for you!
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