When you are working long hours, working through lunches, taking work home or working off the clock you might be working unpaid overtime.
However, your employer may not pay you for all your hours worked, or they may treat you as a salaried employee or independent contractor, and they may believe they don’t have to pay for your overtime wages.
An experienced unpaid overtime lawyer can help you find out what you’re owed, and how to best proceed.
How do You Calculate unpaid Overtime in California?
The California Labor Code and Federal Fair Labor Standards Act require employers to pay their non-exempt employees’ overtime. California provides some of the best overtime benefits for workers.
You can earn overtime in three different ways:
What Occupations Are Exempt From Overtime Pay?
Exempt employees are not entitled to be paid overtime. There are several common categories of exempt workers:
In order to be exempt, employees must:
Any employee who is categorized as exempt should carefully consider whether or not they meet the requirements to be an exempt employee. Being paid a salary alone is not enough, and exempt employee misclassification is a rampant problem.
Common Ways Employers Violate California’s Overtime Law
You generally know when your employer does not pay you the proper overtime rate for overtime hours. Most of the time when employers violate overtime law, they do so because employees did not know they were entitled to overtime in the first place.
There are several common ways in which your employer might be violating overtime laws:
1. Failing to pay you for all hours worked.
You intuitively know that when you are working, you are on the clock and should be paid for that time. However, California’s definition of “hours worked” is much broader than just work time. California law requires that in certain circumstances, you must be paid for:
2. Paying non-exempt employees a salary.
One of the most common but least well known overtime violations occurs when employers misclassify non-exempt employees as exempt workers and pay them a salary. While many employees believe that they are not entitled to overtime if they are paid a salary, if the employee is non-exempt their salary does not legally compensate them for any overtime.
3. Misclassifying you as an independent contractor.
If your employer misclassified you as an independent contractor, it is likely that they have also failed to pay you overtime (if you have worked overtime hours). One of the reasons employers treat employees as independent contractors is to avoid having to pay them overtime. Instead, the company usually pays the contractor straight time wages, but no overtime differential.
4. Not properly calculating your overtime rate.
Calculating overtime rate is generally pretty simple. One and one-half times your hourly rate. However, if you are paid by commission or piece rate, are paid different hourly rates for different types of activity, or if you receive bonuses, calculating your overtime rate is more complex.
How Much Of Your UnPaid Wages Can You Recover?
Employees who have not been paid overtime can recover tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid overtime, penalties and interest. These numbers may seem high, but because California is so protective of its workers, the consequences for employers that misclassify their employees can be steep.
If your employer failed to pay you overtime, they likely owe you:
How Will an Unpaid Overtime Lawyer Help You Prepare Your Claim
If your employer is not paying overtime and repeatedly refused to pay or even discuss the issue, it may be time to consider an unpaid overtime lawsuit.
Before meeting with an unpaid overtime lawyer to discuss your overtime claim, you will want to gather:
All the evidence you can provide will help your lawyer build your case and your unpaid overtime claim.
Talk to a California Unpaid Overtime Lawyer
Not all attorneys are created equal. Do you want someone that aggressively fights for you, that chases every last nickel your employer stole from you and does not give discounts? To have the best opportunity for success, you should hire an unpaid overtime attorney.
These cases require experience and skill. Going up against your employer can feel daunting, but not if you have the help of a knowledgeable attorney by your side. Let us help.
Our unpaid overtime lawyers are experienced in these types of cases.
Drew Lewis, PC, led by its lead trial attorney Drew Lewis, has years of experience representing employees who have unpaid overtime claims.
Drew has recovered millions of dollars for his clients. He understands how employers try to hide the facts and how to prove unpaid overtime cases. And he does not give discounts to employers who have stolen from their workers.
We offer a free case evaluation. And you do not pay us unless we win your case.