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Common Unpaid Overtime Violations


Employees in California who are not exempt from overtime laws are entitled to be paid for overtime if they work more than 40 hours in a workweek, typically. Some workers with alternative work schedules or in certain occupations, such as personal attendants, have different overtime rules. Overtime pay is 1.5 times the regular rate of pay for every hour worked beyond the regular hours in a workweek. When an employer violates overtime pay laws, it is important for any affected employee to seek help from a California employment law attorney. California law also requires employers to pay twice the regular rate of pay in certain situations, including for most non-exempt workers, all time worked beyond 12 hours in a single day, or for time worked beyond 8 hours per day when the employee works for 7 days in a row.

In some cases of unpaid overtime violations, the employer may have made an honest mistake and might take steps to correct the issues as quickly as possible. In other cases, however, an employer may have failed to pay overtime intentionally, so the employee has the right to file a claim. In order to know if you are entitled to unpaid overtime, it is critical for you to be able to recognize unpaid overtime violations. The following are some of the common types of unpaid overtime violations that occur in California workplaces.

Misclassification of the Employee as Exempt 

Some employees in California are exempt from overtime pay laws, which means that they do not need to be paid overtime when they work hours beyond the typical hours in a non-exempt employee’s workweek. Exemptions are complex, but generally speaking, the following types of employees are exempt: executives, administrators, professionals, and outside sales people. When an employer misclassifies an employee as exempt,  and the employee works more than 40 hours (or other maximum, according to their occupation) in a workweek, that employee can seek unpaid overtime.

Misclassification of the Employee as an Independent Contractor 

Independent contractors are not subject to the same overtime pay laws as employees. Sometimes employers misclassify employees as independent contractors and do not appropriately pay overtime when the worker, actually an employee under the law, works more than 40 hours in a workweek. However, even true independent contractors may have a claim against a hiring entity for wage theft, under a recent law that is the subject of other legal updates on this site.

Failure to Pay for Employee Rest Periods 

Employees are entitled to short, 10-minute rest breaks for every four hours of work “or major fraction thereof,” that must be compensated time. California employers do not need to compensate employees for longer meal periods of 30 minutes or more. However, failure to include rest break time within the employee’s total hours worked can result in an overtime pay violation, if the employee then works over 8 hours in a workday or over 40 in a workweek, for example.

Shifting Hours Worked Into the Following Week 

An employer also cannot “take” hours you have worked beyond a 40-hour workweek and include them in the following week of recorded time, in order to avoid paying overtime.

Unpaid Travel Time Payment 

Employers do not need to pay employees for regular commuting time. However, when an employee travels for work duties or travels for the employer’s purposes during a shift, that employee must be compensated at a rate of overtime pay, or even double time pay, if the required travel time causes the employees’ hours to exceed their daily or  workweek totals for “regular” time.

Contact an Employment Lawyer in California 

If you are concerned that you have not been properly paid for overtime work, you should seek advice today from a California employment law attorney at the Law Office of Karen J. Sloat, APC. We represent employees in Riverside County, Cathedral City, Coachella and Desert Hot Springs.




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