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Why You Need an Employment Law Attorney for Wage and Hour Claims

Updated: Dec 30, 2022

For Wage And Hour Claims, Contact An Employment Lawyer in Los Angeles ASAP

The United States safeguards workers' right to choose how many hours they should work and how much they should be paid. The regulations are known as wage and hour laws, and they determine how much you should be paid per hour. The minimum wage amount varies by state, and many states still have a provision on how many hours you can expect to work every day. When these rights are infringed, you might need the help of a California Employment Attorney that can help you get what you are entitled to.

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Such government rules include various minimum sums you must be charged for overtime, weekend, and holiday pay. Some general principles apply to wage and hour legislation that you should be aware of if you want to ensure you're getting a decent wage. Contact a Los Angeles Employment Lawyer if you or someone you know is working under circumstances that do not meet the state's minimum wage requirements. You are entitled to the compensation you have received.

Your Salary

There are rules in place to protect the minimum wage you are entitled to. These same laws specify the types of workers who are eligible for overtime pay if they require long hours. Not all employers follow these rules, some mistakenly, and civil monetary fines will be imposed if this is not fixed.

The following are examples of wage breaches committed by employers:

  • Excessive deductions from salaries in place of tips

  • Paying less than the minimum wage set by the state

  • Paying a "training salary" to employees who should be getting more

  • Employees are forced to work 'off-the-clock' without pay

  • Taking money from wages paid in commodities, such as meals, to purchase food

  • For extra hours worked, there is no additional compensation or 'overtime' pay

The regulations are to safeguard you as an employee. The rules are in place to ensure that employers pay their workers fairly for their work.

Does it guarantee that I will be paid at least the minimum wage?

Each state has its own set of rules for minimum wage and overtime pay. You must consider the various work types and sectors that are needed by federal legislation to determine a minimum wage level. The Federal Wage Law (FLSA) applies to these occupations and sectors, and employers must pay workers at least the Federal Minimum Wage per hour of work.

If your state's minimum wage is lower than the federal minimum wage, your employer must pay the higher rate set by the FLSA. The minimum wage in most states is set to equal the federal minimum wage; however, some states, such as Washington, D.C., have set theirs higher.

For more than eight hours of work done in one day or more than forty hours of work performed in a week, overtime pay must be charged at a rate of time-and-half. California law mandates that you be charged double pay if you work more than twelve hours a day. The California Department of Industrial Relations has more detailed details on California wage regulations.

Your Benefits

A profit is a generic term that refers to various job-related advantages. Benefits are the non-cash compensation that an employee receives from their employer. Some benefits, such as Family and Medical Leave, are mandated by state and federal legislation. Employers seldom lose money by providing incentives to their workers. The cost of their employee's time away from work will be their only cost for providing benefits.

If your work has legal leave conditions, your boss must let you take advantage of them. Some benefits are classified as optional, and you can discuss whether or not they will be recognized as part of your worker's compensation with your boss. Family and medical leave, for example, are not optional, and you must be able to access them.

Employers will provide you with the following optional benefits as part of your job package:

  • Incapacity

  • Dental coverage is a must.

  • Pensions for employees

  • Coverage for medical expenses

  • Life insurance

If your employer provides these optional benefits, your employer must adhere to strict federal regulations, which can be very technical and complicated. Health insurance and pension programs are governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. You must be given notice of the duration of the employee benefits package if you are offered one of these programs. Your employer is required by law to inform you of the following:

  • Who is qualified to participate?

  • What is the strategy?

  • What kind of incentives does the plan provide?

  • How much, if anything, would you be liable for?

  • What would the sums of payments be if you were allowed to make them?

  • When and how will the plan be modified?

If your employer has promised specific benefits but has failed to deliver, contact an Employment Attorney to ensure you are fairly compensated.

Do You Have a Right to Overtime Pay?

Two sets of rules govern the regulation of overtime pay. Employers are expected to pay you time and a half for hours worked beyond the fixed weekly hours under the FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act). The second set of laws varies by jurisdiction, so you should consult with yours to learn about their overtime pay policies.

Many situations are protected by the Fair Labor Standards Act or your state's statute, and your employer is almost certainly obligated to follow at least one of them. Consult your California Employment Attorney if you are working additional hours during the workweek without being compensated for overtime wages.

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The Fair Labor Standards Act normally covers employees that are deemed 'non-exempt. The FLSA covers non-exempt employees, and the employer is responsible for compensating for your overtime pay. To be deemed non-exempt, you must pass a three-part test:

  • You must pass the salary level test if your annual salary is less than $23,600.

  • The FLSA includes non-salaried workers. You will most likely be classified as a salaried employee if the employer guarantees you a minimum wage.

The Fair Labor Standards Act exempts those in management roles from the duties test. If you have a title that classifies you as having management responsibilities, the FLSA regulations do not extend to your overtime compensation.

If you receive less than $23,600 a year due to the three-part exam, you are not in management and are not considered a salaried employee; the FLSA guidelines would most likely apply to you. If you are not being paid fairly for your work hours, contact an Employment Attorney to get the pay you deserve.

Some job descriptions are not eligible for overtime pay, such as:

  • Persons who deliver newspapers

  • Contractors who work for themselves

  • Computer technicians

  • Volunteers are required

  • Employees on small farms

  • Salespeople who work outside of a company

  • Employees of amusement parks

  • Personal companions or babysitters (excluding those who provide domestic work or nursing care)

Does the Amount of Minimum Wage Paid Affect Tips?

All employees covered by federal and state wage and hour laws are usually entitled to the minimum wage. This salary is either the federal government's minimum or the state's minimum wage, whichever is higher.

The rules are a little more complex for jobs that require getting tips. For example, if you make more than $30 in tips per month, your employer is only required to pay you the federal minimum wage of $2.13 per hour. This rule only applies if the gross compensation, including salaries and tips, is equal to the minimum wage for each hour worked.

Employers in California are not allowed to cut salaries based on tips received. They demand that an employer pay a minimum wage regardless of tips received. The Department of Labor has a list of the various states' tip and wage regulations. Consult a Los Angeles Employment Lawyer if you believe you are being underpaid at work because of tips.

Is Paid Maternity Leave a Guarantee?

Employees are covered by the FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act), which requires employers to offer up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave for one of the following reasons:

  1. An employee's son or daughter is adopted, or a foster child is placed.

  2. Having to care for a close relative who has a serious illness, such as a parent, infant, or spouse

  3. A premature baby's birth and treatment

  4. If you've had a major health problem and are unable to work due to medical reasons

If you meet the following criteria, you may be entitled to this benefit under the Family and Medical Leave Act:

  • Working for a company that is subject to the Act

  • Worked 1,250 hours in the previous twelve months before the start date of the leave.

  • Work in a company that employs more than fifty people or has a second location within 75 miles that employs more people.

In addition to the FMLA rules, which enable workers to take time off after the birth of a child, several states have similar laws in effect. You can find more details on unpaid time off for delivering a baby at the Department of Labor.

Would I Lose My Job if the National Guard deploys me?

When you return from a time of service in the uniformed services, the USERRA (Uniformed Services Work and Reemployment Rights Act) covers your rights. The National Guard is included in this protection, and your employer cannot discriminate against you because of your military service or duty.

You are given the right to return to work when you return from deployment. You are entitled to the same seniority, salary, and other benefits and privileges associated with the job due to your reinstatement.

Employers are not required to give spouses time off if their husband or wife is serving in the National Guard. While this is not a legal necessity, many companies do allow this type of leave. Find out how the company's management can approach the situation by speaking with them. Consider one of our prescreened California Lawyers in your California Attorney Search.

Should I Receive Paid Breaks?

Employers are not mandated by federal law to have paid breaks. Under federal rules, employers with brief breaks of five to twenty minutes may include the time in the total number of hours worked during the week. When deciding whether or not extra wages are owed, this break period will be added to the overall hours worked. Review your state's rules if you don't feel like you're getting enough breaks.

Under California labor laws, employees who work for more than five hours have the right to a break. However, depending on your arrangement with your boss, the break conditions for each employee can be different. You might need the help of a Employment Lawyer in Los Angeles who can ensure that your employer does not infringe on your right to meal and rest breaks.

What Does a Meal Break Entail?

According to California law, a meal break is an unpaid, uninterrupted duration of at least thirty minutes that allows workers to work on personal projects. Employers should give their workers this time off without asking them to do something.

Meal breaks, on the other hand, do not always imply that the employee must use their allotted free time to eat. They can run personal errands during this time if they return to their responsibilities on time.

It's also important to remember that the employee's break schedule and the number of breaks can vary. The timing of meal breaks is determined by the employee's working hours and the agreements signed during jobs.

When an employer follows the following criteria, he is in compliance with the rule of the meal break:

  • During meal times, they relieve the employee of all responsibilities.

  • Allows the employee to take a 30-minute meal break without interruption.

  • They relinquish the authority of all of the employee's tasks.

What exactly is a rest break?

Employees in California have the right to at least ten minutes of rest for every four hours they work continuously, according to state law. As a result, the statute requires the employer to include this break as long as the employee works the required hours.

During this time off, the employer must relieve the employee of all responsibilities. In addition, the employer must have enough rest facilities for the employee to use. The toilet facilities are separate from the resting areas. As a result, toilet facilities are not considered rest facilities.

Staff must be aware, however, that, unlike meal breaks, rest breaks are compensated. Paid breaks imply that workers' ten-minute breaks will also be counted as part of their working hours.

Even though the state has provided for this exception in the labor laws, the employee is not required to obey it. Employers are the only ones that are subject to the code, so they must follow it. Furthermore, an employer has no legal authority to compel employees to take a break if they choose not to.

If your boss refuses to give you this break, you may seek legal advice from a Employment Lawyer in Los Angeles on how to proceed.

What Constitutes a Meal Break?

When non-exempt workers work for more than five hours straight, they are entitled to a thirty-minute break. Additionally, if an employee works more than ten hours in a row, the employer must include a second meal break.

The employee should be able to leave the workplace during this meal break. It is important to understand that when an employer needs an employee to be present on the job or at a job site during lunch hour, the employer must pay the employee.

In most cases, an employee is entitled to an additional hour of pay at the employer's expense. As a result, the employer can pay the employee an additional hour, which must be comparable to the employee's normal hourly wage.

Exempt workers would be subject to the same laws and conditions as non-exempt employees. Meal breaks are also available to exempt workers at all times. The breaks would also be by the non-exempt employees' conditions.

Employees should be aware, however, that their employer is under no obligation to compel them to take this break. If your boss permits you to take a break, but you decline, the move is not illegal under California labor laws. This is also true for those who are entitled to two meal breaks but just take one.

Who Has the Right to a Rest Break?

Non-exempt workers are entitled to a four-hour rest period for every four hours of continuous service. These breaks are compensated and are included in the daily working hours.

However, if employees work for less than three and a half hours in a workday, they are not entitled to a rest break. As a result, only those working more than four hours are entitled to this break.

Employers who refuse their employees this right to pay them an additional hour on top of their normal working hours. The employer would compensate the employee for the additional hour based on their normal hourly rates.

  • Those that work more than eight hours are entitled to a second break after the second four-hour shift is completed. As a result, they get an extra ten minutes on top of their first rest break.

  • Breastfeeding breaks may fall into this category. Employers must authorize lactating mothers to breastfeed their children during fair breaks. They are compensated if the breaks occur during the employee's regular working hours.

An excluded employee is not eligible for a rest break under any conditions. They would not be able to exercise this right because of the word 'exempt.' This ensures that if an employee misses a rest break, the employer will not pay them.

How to Submit a Claim?

By encouraging you to file a lawsuit that ensures your payout, the state allows you to enforce your meal and break rights. Wage claims are the most common form of the allegation. A wage claim is a form of a lawsuit that employees bring against their employers to recover any money owed to them.

You must first determine the best legal course of action to file a lawsuit. Since you have many choices, you may need to consider them to determine which legal action is appropriate for your situation. Staff making a wage claim for missed meal or break times have the following legal options:

Civil lawsuits

In a court of law, the employee has the right to sue the boss. The lawsuit seeks remuneration for the breaks that the employer refused the employee.

  • Lawsuits are distinct from ordinary wage cases filed with federal agencies or the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement since they occur in superior court (DLSE).

  • The lawsuits, including the wage cases, have conferences and trials. Both the employee and the boss can submit claims and testimony during the proceedings. The case will be built around these two.

This is the best solution if your case requires a lot of money. The litigation allows you to present your case to the court in detail. Furthermore, when dealing with a situation that is overly complicated and involves many problems, this solution is the safest. You will also recover legal fees if you file a complaint. This, however, is entirely dependent on the facts of your situation.

It is important to understand that lawsuits are costly. Similarly, the procedure is difficult and can take a long time to complete. As a result, an Employment Lawyer in Los Angeles usually advises clients against filing lawsuits because they are impractical for small claims.

Wage Claims in the Federal Government

All workplace laws in the United States are governed by the Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA). It establishes minimum conditions for employers, such as minimum wage and meal break requirements.

Like the California Labor Code, the FLSA rules include guidelines for pursuing claims. The only difference is that the state's labor code provides workers more protections than the FLSA. This does not, however, extend to all labor concerns.

Before making a decision, an employee should compare the two rules. In most cases, the state's Labor Code can have better compensation than federal law. When this occurs, it is more realistic to choose state laws because you can receive better benefits.

Wage Claim for DLSE

Employees are also covered by the state administrative agency DLSE and the Labor Code and federal laws. The legislation establishes rules for dealing with various labor-related issues.

The DLSE has the authority to investigate and hold hearings on employee complaints. To assist them in reaching a fair resolution, the agency would ask both the worker and the employer to present both sides of their claims.

Process of Making a Wage Claim

The steps in the wage claim process:

1. Choosing the Best Process for Filing a Wage Claim

You'll need to find a Los Angeles Employment Lawyer to help you get through this. An Employment Lawyer in Los Angeles will be well-versed in all legal choices and can, in most cases, encourage you to pursue a wage claim. The merits of this choice outweigh the disadvantages, according to lawyers.

2. Claim Preparation

This will necessitate filing the DLSE's 'original Report or Allegation' paper. Since the form is online, anybody can fill it out.

The DLSE form 1 is the one you'll need to submit for this argument. In addition, the agency offers straightforward guidance in all languages about how to fill out the form.

Your California Employment Attorney must include all of your allegations when filing this lawsuit. This is because, after this point, the agency will not accept any new claims.

3. Obtaining Documents to Support Your Case

It is a legal obligation that all claim-related papers be filed. In the appropriate columns of the DLSE type 55, you can record the amount of missed meals and rest breaks.

The time records that the employee kept tracking the meal and rest periods worked without being paid are the documentation that backs up this point.

Only copies of the documents are needed at this time.

4. File a complaint with the DLSE.

You must apply your claim in person to the DLSE office closest to your workplace. This is not a formal accusation but is intended to assess the claim's merits. Your claim is referred to the Labor Commission after it is submitted.

5. Attending the Conference on Settlement

Both sides will decide whether they wish to settle at a settlement conference. All sides can present their facts to reach a reasonable agreement. On the other hand, the organization would deny the allegation if an employee fails to attend the meeting. Original copies of documents should be shown after this stage.

6. Notification of Hearing

The DLSE will file a formal lawsuit against the employer if the parties cannot agree on a settlement. The department then holds a hearing and serves subpoenas on the parties involved. The parties are entitled to call witnesses to support their claims at this hearing.

Both parties will also show all of the facts.

7. Objecting to the Order

If any side is unhappy with the result, they may appeal. Within ten days of the decision, the interested appeal party must file an appeal in the superior court. If the employer files an appeal, they will be responsible for the employee's legal fees.

Is it Legal for Me to Take Time Off for Personal Reasons?

Some states allow employees to take time off work for personal purposes. The following are examples of possible scenarios:

  • Concerns of domestic abuse

  • Counseling services are available

  • Obtain medical assistance

  • Purchase a new residence

Since various states have different regulations, you can review your own state's rules for these circumstances.

Is it Legal for Me to Take Time Off Work to Vote?

If you can't make it to the polls during their open hours, your boss will usually give you some time off to vote. Many states have made this time off a requirement so that employers will encourage their workers to vote, but you will be asked to notify your boss that you will be absent.

How Often Do I Get Paid?

Almost every state has enacted a minimum pay frequency for their workers. Depending on where you work, you might be entitled to a paycheck every other week or twice a month. Some states require workers to be paid on a weekly or monthly basis.

Paychecks must be delivered on a semi-monthly basis under California law. The conditions for payday loans can be confusing because they differ from state to state. Check with your state to find out whether your employer is abiding by the rule. If you are not getting your paycheck on time, you can contact a Los Angeles Employment Lawyer to secure your rights.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)

Employees are covered by federal employment laws, which guarantee that they are paid fairly. The Fair Labor Standards Act created these laws covering child labor standards, minimum wage, and overtime pay (FLSA).

The Wage and Hour Division of the United States Department of Labor is in charge of enforcing the legislation that decides if back wages are owed. You can file a complaint to recover back pay for FLSA breaches through this division. If you believe you are entitled to back pay from your employer, consult an California Employment Attorney for advice on how to proceed.

The following are some of the topics covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act:

Employment of Children

To work in non-farm jobs, children must be sixteen years old. Children must be eighteen years old to work in 'hazardous' industries like mining or driving a car. The FLSA does not refer to children who work in the acting industry, deliver newspapers, or make wreaths at home. Hiring minors for farm labor is subject to fewer limitations under the Department of Labor.

Employees who are not excluded vs. those who are exempt

When overtime and minimum wage conditions do not apply to your job, you are considered an exempt employee under the FLSA. Exempt employees are usually seasonal workers or others who receive a certain amount each year.

Equal wage laws differ from state to state, but federal regulations protect all. If you or someone you know is not being paid a reasonable wage for a job, speak with an Los Angeles Employment Lawyer and see if you or they are entitled to make a claim for the compensation you deserve.

How Do I Get My Money Back?

The Wage and Hour Division was established by the Fair Labor Standards Act to investigate complaints about wage and hour violations. Employers who disobey the legislation and refuse to compensate their employees fairly will face civil penalties. An employer who disobeys the Child Labor Law is an example of this. For each child who was subjected to the violation, the defendant could face a fine of up to $1,000.

You will be entitled to collect unpaid minimum wages and overtime pay if you can prove your boss broke the rule. Contact a California Employment Attorney to file a lawsuit against your employer and potentially seek an injunction to prohibit the practice from continuing. The FLSA ensures that you have a certain level of security as an employee, such as acceptable working hours and equal pay. It is your right to be paid fairly for the work you do.

As an employee, you have rights.

As an employee, you have rights, and regulations are in place to protect you. Since there are so many workers in so many industries, work relationships can be complicated. Here are some of the things you're safe from:

  • Termination without cause

  • Wages and taxes are two important factors to consider

  • Discrimination is a term that has been used to describe

  • Compromised workplace security is essential

Federal and state laws regulate these and other fields. As an employee, you have some fundamental privileges at work. Equal compensation, protection from discrimination, and privacy are among these rights. Even when you are employed, you have rights, including the right to be free of discrimination during the hiring process based on your sex, gender, age, national origin, ethnicity, or religion.

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Your personal belongings, such as your purse, briefcase, private mail, or storage locker, are covered by your right to privacy at work. You have a right to privacy when making phone calls or leaving voicemail messages. These privileges are limited in terms of e-mail messages and Internet access when using the company's computer system.

You can accept or decline a prospective employer's offer to conduct a background or credit check as part of the hiring process. Other rights that are safeguarded include:

  • The right to work in a safe workplace free of toxic chemicals, hazardous working conditions, and other potential hazards.

  • You have the right to be paid fairly for the job you do.

  • The ability to make a lawsuit or complaint against your employer without fear of retaliation if you suspect unlawful or unethical behavior.

  • The right to work without being subjected to any kind of discrimination or harassment

If some of your employee rights have been violated, contact an Employment Attorney to see your options for resolving the situation. It is your right to be treated fairly and to be paid fairly. is a California Bar Association Certified Lawyer Referral Service that can refer you to a California Employment Attorney that's the best fit to handle your unique case. Complete our case details submission form or contact us through our 24/7 live chat for a free initial consultation.


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