Irvine Wage & Hour Lawyer
All employees of any company in Orange County, CA should receive the appropriate amount of pay for the hours worked. It is part of the state’s labor laws and the initial employer-employee contract. This is supposed to ensure that workers are not taken advantage of and that they can make a living wage. Unfortunately, sometimes employers do not hold up their end of the bargain and will try to get away with paying their employees less than they are actually owed. This is where an Irvine wage and hour lawyer can step in and help. If you are not being paid what you are owed, or if you are being asked to work more hours than what is fair, an Irvine wage and hour attorney can help you take legal action.
At California Employment Counsel, APC, our Irvine employment law attorneys are well-versed in state and federal labor laws. Our employment law firm knows your rights as an employee, and we will fight to ensure that you’re being treated fairly. If you are not being paid what you are owed or are asked to work excessive hours, contact us today. We will review your pending legal case and determine the best legal course of action.
Common Wage and Hour Violations in Irvine, CA
There are a number of different ways that an employer can violate wage and hour laws. Some of the most common include:
- Not paying employees for all time spent working: This is known as “wage theft.” If you are not being paid for all the hours you have worked, you may be entitled to back pay and other damages.
- Paying employees less than the minimum wage: All employees in California are entitled to earn at least the state minimum wage, which is currently $15 per hour. If you are being paid less than this, you may be able to take legal action.
- Not paying overtime: Employees who work more than 40 hours in a week are entitled to receive overtime pay, which is 1.5 times their regular hourly rate. If you are being asked to work excessive hours without being paid overtime, you have legal grounds to take action and recoup your lost wages.
- Not providing meal and rest breaks: California law requires employers to provide employees with a 30-minute meal break for every 5 hours worked, as well as two 10-minute rest breaks. If you are not being given the opportunity to take these breaks, it is a clear violation of state law.
- Misclassifying employees: Sometimes, employers will misclassify employees as exempt from overtime to avoid paying them the proper wages. For example, they may classify a server as a bartender, even though they do not actually tend a bar. If you have been misclassified, you may be entitled to back pay and other damages.
- Restricting vacation time: Some employers will put restrictions on how and when employees can use their vacation time. Others will try to withhold vacation pay altogether. In some cases, this may be a violation of state law if the employer fails to adhere to their own vacation policy.
- Withholding tips: Employees who receive tips as part of their compensation are entitled to keep all tips they earn, unless they participate in a valid tip-sharing arrangement. If your employer is withholding your tips or forcing you to share them with management, you should check in with our Orange County employment attorneys to see if they’re in violation of state law.
- Discriminatory practices: Employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees based on their race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or genetic information. In wage violation cases, sometimes two people with the exact same job title and responsibilities will be paid different hourly rates based on a protected characteristic. This is a violation of state and federal law, and you may be entitled to take legal action if it is happening to you.
The nature of any given wage and hour violation can be highly nuanced and complicated. If you are not sure whether your employer is following state and federal law, it’s always best to speak with an experienced Irvine wage and hour attorney. They will be able to review your case and advise you on your legal options.
What Evidence Do I Need to Prove a Wage and Hour Violation?
There are a number of different types of evidence that can be used to prove wage and hour violations. This can include:
- Pay stubs and time cards: These documents will show how many hours you’ve worked and what your hourly rate is. If there are discrepancies between your pay stubs and time cards, it may be an indication that you’re not being paid for all the hours you’ve worked.
- Emails and text messages: If your employer has told you to work off the clock or not take meal or rest breaks, there’s a good chance they’ve communicated this to you electronically. These messages can provide valuable evidence in your case.
- Witness testimony: If you have co-workers who can attest to the fact that you are not being paid properly, or they witnessed you being forbidden from taking breaks, their testimony can be very helpful in proving your case.
- Video or audio recordings: If you have video or audio recordings of your employer asking you to work off the clock or not take meal or rest breaks, this can be used as evidence in your case. This is often the most compelling evidence you can have, as it is very difficult for an employer to deny what’s on a recording.
What Compensation Can I Recover in a Wage and Hour Violation Case?
If you are a victim of wage theft or other wage and hour violations, you may be entitled to a number of different types of compensation. This can include:
- Unpaid wages: The number one thing employees typically seek to recover in a wage and hour case is unpaid wages. This can include back pay for hours worked as well as overtime pay if you have been working more than 40 hours per week. This is the original compensation that you should have been paid, and you are entitled to receive it.
- Liquidated damages: In some cases, employees may be entitled to receive “liquidated damages.” This is an additional amount of money, typically equal to the amount of unpaid wages, that’s awarded to the employee as a way to punish the employer for their illegal actions.
- Penalties: In some cases, the state or federal government may impose penalties on the employer to punish them for their illegal actions. These penalties are typically in addition to any other compensation the employee is awarded.
- Pain and suffering: In some cases, employees may be able to recover damages for the emotional burden they suffered because of the wage and hour violations. For example, if you were not paid for overtime hours worked and, as a result, had to take a second job to make ends meet, you may be able to recover damages for the stress and anxiety caused. This is especially true if there were any physical manifestations of this stress, such as insomnia or headaches that required medical treatment.
How Can Employment Law Attorneys Help With My Wage and Hour Violation Case?
Orange County employment law attorneys are well-versed in wage and hour laws and can help ensure that you are being paid properly. Their value extends beyond simply filing a lawsuit, as they can also help:
- Investigate your case: An experienced attorney will know how to investigate your case to uncover all evidence of wage and hour violations. This can include subpoenas for pay stubs and time cards, as well as interviewing witnesses.
- Calculate your damages: An attorney can help you calculate the full extent of your damages, including any unpaid wages, liquidated damages, penalties, and pain and suffering. This will ensure you are maximizing the compensation you receive in your case and are not leaving any money on the table.
- Negotiate with the employer: In many cases, an attorney can help negotiate a settlement with your employer that is acceptable to both parties. This can avoid a lengthy and costly trial. The communication and negotiation skills of an experienced attorney can be invaluable to your case and offer you the best chance of a favorable outcome.
- Go to trial: If a settlement cannot be reached, an experienced attorney will build a strong case and present it in court. They will also know how to cross-examine the employer’s witnesses and present your own witnesses in the most effective way.
- Appeal the decision: If you lose at trial, an experienced attorney will know how to file an appeal. They will analyze exactly what went wrong at trial and work to correct any errors on appeal. Having an attorney who knows how to handle an appeal can be the difference between winning and losing your case.
Contact the California Employment Counsel, APC, Today
If you believe you are the victim of wage and hour violations, it is important to speak with an experienced Irvine wage and hour attorney as soon as possible. California Employment Counsel, APC, has extensive experience handling these types of cases, and we’re here to help obtain the justice and compensation you deserve. We understand how any disruption to your paycheck can adversely affect your life, and we will work hard to get you the results you need so that you can move on with your life. Contact us today to schedule a consultation. We look forward to speaking with you soon.