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Wage & Hour Violations

While some employees are exempt from California’s wage and hour laws, many employees have protections in the form of minimum wage, overtime, and meal and rest break laws. These rules can be complicated and will apply differently to different classes of employees.

Los Angeles wage and hour attorney Afshin Mozaffari has a comprehensive understanding of California employment law and can provide guidance to you about how the law protects you.

Here are some key concepts about wage and hour issues.

What is Exempt v. Non-Exempt?

The first thing to keep in mind is to determine whether you are properly considered an “exempt” or “nonexempt” employee. This is based on your pay and the type of work you do. Generally, more “professional” types of jobs tend to be considered “exempt” from wage and hour laws. Employees falling under these most common exemptions are not eligible for minimum wage or overtime.

  • Executive Exemption: This exemption applies to employees who spend over half their work time managing businesses or departments of a business.
  • Administrative Exemption: This exemption applies to employees who spend over half their work time assisting the proprietor or other exempt individual in “servicing” a business in a matter of significance.
  • Professional Exemption: This exemption applies to employees who have certain licenses to practice a profession or who work in a “learned or artistic” profession.
  • Computer Software Professional Exemption: This exemption applies to employees who work in highly theoretical aspects of computer software and make over $41.00 an hour (as of 2021).
  • Outside Salesperson Exemption: This exemption applies to employees who usually work away from the workplace making sales and filling orders. However, the employee cannot spend significant time doing the same work as other non-exempt employees.

Protections for Non-Exempt Workers: Minimum Wage, Overtime and Meal and Rest Breaks

If you are a “nonexempt” employee, you are entitled to be paid at least minimum wage for each hour that you work.

With some exceptions, you are also entitled to overtime or premium pay when you work more than 8 hours in a day, work more than 40 hours in a week or work 7 days in a row. A California employer must pay overtime at the following rates:

  • 1.5 times an employee’s regular rate of pay for hours worked over 8 in a workday or over 40 hours in a workweek.
  • 2 times an employee’s regular rate of pay for hours worked over 12 hours in a workday, or for hours worked over 8 hours on the seventh day of the workweek.

If a non-exempt employee works seven consecutive days, he or she must be paid 1.5 times the usual rate for the first 8 hours worked on the seventh consecutive work day, and double time for any hours worked over eight hours on the seventh workday

Employers are also required to provide you with a paid ten-minute rest break for every 4 hours of work, as well as an unpaid 30-minute meal period for every 5 hours of work. Failure by an employer to provide these meal and rest periods entitles the employee to extra pay and may subject the employer to certain penalties.

In addition, employers are required to pay you on time and to provide you with accurate wage statements that include certain information.

What is Misclassification?

Increasingly, many employees are falsely classified by employers as independent contractors in order to avoid their wage and hour obligations. Workers who are misclassified as independent contractors work without the legal protections typically afforded to employees, such as wage and hour laws, workers compensation, and unemployment benefits.

To combat employer misclassification, California has adopted what is known as the ABC test, a strong, protective test for determining employee status. Under the ABC test, a worker is considered an employee and not an independent contractor, unless the hiring entity satisfies all three of the following conditions:

  • The worker is free from the control and direction of the hiring entity in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for the performance of the work and in fact;
  • The worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business; and
  • The worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as that involved in the work performed.

If you believe you are not being paid properly for your hours and you need to understand your rights, contact Los Angeles wage and hour lawyer Afshin Mozaffari at 323.696.0702 or for a confidential consultation.

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