The law offices of Shah Sheth handle a variety of issues relating to employment law including one of the most fundamental parts of the employer-employee relationship, getting paid. While seemingly simple to understand, wage and hour complaints and lawsuits are very common in the modern workplace as California laws regarding wages are very specific and employers often fail to understand their implementation.
Shah Sheth handles unpaid wage cases frequently and understands the duress that occurs when an employee is treated unfairly regarding their wages and proper timely payment.
Common wage and hour issues faced by employees include:
Inaccurate Calculation of Work Hours
If the employer realizes or should realize that an employee is working, whether or not the work itself is authorized, then payment is mandatory. Often times employers will consider certain work to be “off the clock”, such as powering down computers or removing a complex uniform. It is a basic tenet of California law that employees must be compensated for all hours worked, which is designated as time by which the employees are under the control of their employer.
Inaccurate Calculation of Overtime
Often times employers, hesitant to provide the time and a half overtime pay, will create a scenario in which the employee is forced to work “off the clock” and receive no pay at all. Whether the employer realizes this is a serious violation or not, they are still in clear violation of California labor law both in terms of failing to pay for working hours and failing to abide by the overtime regime in California.
Furthermore, employees can be victimized by the employer inaccurately reporting overtime pay as normal pay, thus cheating the employees out of their earned overtime wages.
Vacation Pay Loss
California considers vacation pay, including floating holidays and paid time off, to be normal wages and thus cannot be subject to “use it or lose it” policies, forfeitures of any kind, or caps on accrual. In many industries, it is standard practice for employers to incorrectly cap accruals and even forfeit pay if vacation time is not used. These situations are commonly violations of California law.
Additionally, accrued vacation time must be paid out immediately upon termination.
Meal & Break Periods
An especially common violation in the hospitality, food & beverage industries is the situation with meal and break periods. California law requires that if a workday is over 6 hours then the employee must receive an unpaid 30 minute meal period. Often times employers will completely ignore this law and force employees to either work without a meal period on the clock, or even worse work without a meal period off the clock to specifically avoid the rule.
Furthermore, employees working over 3.5 hours must receive a 10 minute break period, towards the middle of the work shift as is reasonable.
If the employer does not offer a meal or break period, the employee must be provided one hour in additional pay for each time the violation occurs.
These violations, especially in the hospitality industry, can become serious amounts of unpaid wages after years of working.
California law states that employees must be paid on a semi-monthly basis at minimum, which specific dates for when each pay period must be received by. Employers that “bounce” checks purposefully or in other ways deny employees their compensation are in violation of basic workers rights and state law.
Furthermore, payment by check must state the name and address of the issuing bank for cashing without discount, as well as the time period, hourly wage, gross and net earnings – along with many other details. Payments must have pertinent information for the review and verification of the employee – an employer who leaves out such detail is withholding information seemingly for the purposes of fraud or misrepresentation to the employee.
Shah Sheth’s Role
Shah Sheth takes issues relating to wage and hour, as well as unpaid wages, very seriously as employers have clear laws and regulations through the State of California by which to compensate and equitability handle wages for its employees. Put simply, an employer acting negligently with regards to compensating employees is a serious detriment to the workplace environment. Shah Sheth seeks to assist employees struggling with wage and hour issues within the workplace and remedy them through legal means to not only remedy the situation for the individual employee, but also the rest of the workforce.
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