Wage and Hour Violations
Wage and hour law includes the areas of overtime, minimum wage, and meal break violations. Mr. Velarde may be able to handle your wage and hour claim on a contingency fee basis, meaning that you pay no attorney fees unless we are successful in recovering compensation for you.
In California, most workers are entitled to overtime for all work past eight hours in a day or forty hours in a week, or for work performed on a seventh consecutive day. Simply being paid a salary does not make an employee exempt from overtime. Salaried employees are entitled to overtime compensation as well, provided that an overtime exemption does not apply to them.
Overtime exemptions often apply to high level managers and administrators. But it is important to understand that a fancy job title does not make an employee exempt. It is common practice for employers to give an employee a high level "job title", only to deny that employee overtime in an illegal manner. Mr. Velarde has secured overtime compensation for numerous misclassified "managers." Moreover, under California law an employee must typically be engaged in the high level exempt duty for over fifty percent of their working time in order for an executive or administrative exemption to apply. Mr. Velarde has secured overtime compensation for managers that spend the majority of their working time performing the same tasks as their subordinates.
The law is written to err on the side of employees. Any employer asserting an exemption defense has the burden to prove that exemption by a preponderance of the evidence. An employee who has suffered an overtime violation is entitled to recover the unpaid wages, in addition to significant penalties and attorneys' fees.
This nation has a proud tradition of paying workers overtime. Our overtime laws originated in the labor reforms that came out of the great depression under President Franklin Roosevelt. Enforcing those overtime laws is essential to maintaining high labor standards in California.
Mr. Velarde may be able to handle your overtime claim on a contingency fee basis, meaning that we receive no attorneys' fees unless we are successful in recovering compensation for you.
The minimum wage in California is $8/hr. An employee cannot work for less than the minimum wage. If your employer is paying you less than minimum wage, they have committed a serious labor violation. Under the law, an employer who fails to pay the required minimum wage must pay that employee the unpaid wages, plus an equal and additional amount as further damages. An employee who has suffered a minimum wage violation is also entitled to recover additional penalties and attorneys' fees.
Common minimum wage violations include employees who provide services in an employer's home, and drivers who spend a considerable amount of their working time waiting for the individuals they are transporting. Some employers will argue that employees in such circumstances should just "take a break." This is illegal. In addition, other minimum wage violations occur where an employee is paid on a salary basis, but is required to work for so many hours that their hourly rate is actually less than minimum wage. If an employee is working, they are entitled to be paid at least the minimum wage.
Mr. Velarde may be able to handle your minimum wage claim on a contingency fee basis, meaning that we receive no attorneys' fees unless we are successful in recovering compensation for you.
Under California law, non exempt employees are entitled to a 30 minute meal break for each work day in excess of five hours. This means that an employee must be permitted to have a lunch period where they are free from all duty and are able to leave the premises. As many workers know, employers frequently assert pressure on employees to shorten, interrupt, or work through their meal periods.
The California Supreme Court, in the case of Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Superior Court, recently clarified what constitutes an actionable meal break violation. Pursuant to Brinker, the central question turns on whether an employer has permitted an employee to take the required meal period. Whether or not the employee chooses to take the break is not the deciding factor. For instance, if an employer told an employee to eat their lunch at their desk and to answer calls that come in during the lunch period, that employer would have committed a meal period violation because the employee has not been permitted to take a meal break fee from all duty or to leave the premises. In contrast, if an employer told an employee to get a project done by the end of the day, and that employee chose to work through lunch instead of staying late, that employee would have a very difficult time establishing a meal period violation. That employee was presumably permitted to take a 30 minute meal period, but chose to work instead. Of course, most real life examples are not this clear cut, which makes meal period litigation a challenging part of wage and hour law.
An employee who has suffered a meal break violation is entitled to recover an hour of pay for each day a violation occurred. While these cases are often small on an individual basis, meal period violations frequently occur to numerous employees in the same fashion, which makes these cases ripe for class actions. This can result in recovery for a whole class of workers, as well as an enhancement fee for the employee that serves as the class representative.
Mr. Velarde may be able to handle your meal break claim on a contingency fee basis, meaning that we receive no attorneys' fees unless we are successful in recovering compensation for you.