UNPAID WAGE VIOLATIONS
California law requires that employees are paid for all hours worked. Any time spent by an employee for the benefit of the employer must be paid as hours worked. A company that requires or allows an individual to work is required to pay the employee for that time. Time spent working off-the-clock or before or after a scheduled shift is also considered hours worked. Unfortunately, in California and throughout San Diego many employees are unaware of their right to receive payment for these periods, which can add up over time.
It is illegal for a company to require an employee to complete a certain amount of work and then pay them for a fixed amount of time (for example, eight hours in a day or 40 hours in a week), even though it takes the employee longer to complete the required tasks. The employee must be paid for all time spent completing the work.
Off-the-clock work is another example of where employees are often underpaid. If an employee works before or after his or her scheduled shift, California law requires that they be paid for that work even if it is “off the clock.” Off-the-clock work is common in many industries, including the restaurant and service industry, banking and retail and construction:
- Pre-shift duties, such as opening up or preparing for work on the jobsite
- Post-shift duties, such as cleaning after hours or closing up shop
- Administrative duties performed at home
- Work performed during meal or rest periods
- Answering calls during your meal or rest period
Additionally, employees that work from home or are expected to answer work-related calls or emails are also working off-the-clock and must receive wages for the time spent working.
OTHER TYPES OF UNPAID WAGE CLAIMS
To save on labor costs, employers also often shortchange employees on other forms of wages and compensation that they are entitled to under the law:
- Tips and gratuities
- Vacation pay, PTO and sick leave
- Bonuses and commissions
- Equal pay discrepancies
- Employee misclassification
- Meal and rest period premiums
- Unreimbursed expenses
PENALTIES AND DAMAGES FOR FAILING TO PAY WAGES
Employees can obtain the unpaid wages along with significant damages and penalties for unpaid wages:
- Payment of the unpaid wages
- Interest on the amount owed
- Waiting time penalties (up to 30 times the amount of unpaid wages owed)
- Wage statement penalties (up to $4,000)
- Liquidated damages (double pay)
- Punitive damages
- Attorney’s fees and costs
Groups of employees that are all subject to the same policy may sue as part of a class action lawsuit to recover the total amount of unpaid wages.
TIME TO RECOVER YOUR UNPAID WAGES
Contact us today if you’d like to schedule a confidentially review of your records to find out whether you are owed wages. Case consultations are always free and we will help you determine whether you’re not being paid for all work required under California law. Ferraro Employment Law specializes in recovering unpaid wages owed to employees and independent contractors throughout the state.