Experienced Employment Lawyers in Diamond Bar, CA
Whether you are an employer or an employee, you need to have a firm understanding of California’s employment laws and regulations. The laws covering employment in California are complex and exacting.
Employers face very serious consequences for violating these laws…which often times arise through simple mistakes they can avoid by meeting proactively with an attorney. If you are an employer, Blasser Law can help you by discussing the specific issues affecting your business and providing advice on how to comply with California employment laws. This will help reduce your risk of litigation. If an employee has already filed a lawsuit against you, we can also defend your business and work with you to obtain a successful result.
If you are an employee and feel your rights have been violated we can help you recover what you are entitled to under the law.
Whether you are an employee or employer, here is some basic information to consider when thinking about employment law.
Wage Laws & Overtime
California and Federal law generally require employers to pay their employees time and a half for any hours they work in excess of 40 hours per week or 8 hours per day (unless you fall within an exemption). If employers violate these requirements, they may be required to pay their employees for past unpaid overtime, interest, penalties, court costs and attorney’s fees.
Many employees and employers simply assume an employee is not entitled to overtime if they receive a salary. This assumption is often times incorrect. Paying an employee via salary simply means the employee receives the same amount of compensation each week. Whether the employee qualifies for overtime compensation depends on the employee falling within the category of being an “exempt employee.” If the employee is not exempt, then he/she is entitled to overtime compensation even if he/she receives a salary. Most employees, however, are nonexempt and should receive overtime compensation.
California’s minimum wage is $8.00 per hour. Many employers assume they can pay less than this if their employees earn tips. This is another incorrect assumption. California law expressly prohibits an employer from crediting tips towards the minimum wage. Thus, even employees earning tips should usually receive the full minimum wage.
“On Call” Compensation
Employers generally must pay an employee for any time spent under the employer’s control and for the employers benefit. This includes time where employees are required to wait around “on call” at the behest of their employer. For example, if an employee is paid to wash cars from 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM, but ends up standing around for 30 minutes waiting for cars to arrive during his/her shift, the employee must be compensated for those 30 minutes.
Calculating Overtime Pay
Overtime must be paid at a rate of at least one and a half times the employee’s regular rate of pay. By way of example, if the regular rate of pay is $10.00 per hour, the overtime rate would be $15.00 per hour.
Sometimes employees are paid through a “piece rate”. To calculate the regular rate of pay under a piece rate, you divide the total weekly earnings by the total number of hours worked for that week. Employees are entitled to an additional one half times this regular rate for any overtime hours they work.
Where employees are paid through salary, California law calculates the regular rate by dividing the salary by the maximum lawful workweek, which is 40 hours. By way of example, if an employee receives a weekly salary of $500.00, the regular rate of pay is $12.50 per hour (i.e., $500.00 ÷ 40). Any overtime hours would therefore be paid at an hourly rate of $18.75.
Employers must keep certain records concerning employee wages, hours worked and other items. For nonexempt employees, employers must keep records of the following information:
- Employee name, address, sex and birth date.
- The hour and day when the workweek begins.
- The regular hourly pay rate and overtime hourly pay rate.
- The total number of hours the employee works during each work day and work week.
- The total amount of employee earnings for hours paid at a straight rate.
- The total amount of employee earnings for hours paid at an overtime rate.
- Deductions from employee wages.
- Total wages paid during a particular pay period.
- Date of payments and the pay periods those payments cover.
Where employers fail to keep records concerning the amount of hours an employee works, it puts the employee in a position where he/she may prove overtime violations with his/her testimony. As such, it behooves any employer to keep accurate employment records.