Orange County Employee Misclassification Lawyers
Every employer operating in California must abide by the labor regulations in place at the federal, state, and local levels. Many of these regulations pertain to the classification of employees, designating certain rights and responsibilities for several employee classifications. Employers must classify their employees accurately. Unfortunately, this does not always happen as it should.
State and federal overtime rules do not cover certain categories of employment. Salaried workers can be required to work long hours without any extra pay. Independent contractors can be paid straight time wages instead of premium wages. Many California employers have taken advantage of employee classification to avoid paying benefits and higher wages when they legally should. For example, some independent contractors technically meet the qualification of a full-time employee. Under California law, they should have the same rights and compensation as a full-time employee. However, employers may not classify them correctly so they can keep them on a contract basis instead of paying them full-time employee wages and benefits.
Some employers have also used employee misclassification to indirectly deny their workers overtime. Typically, overtime is paid at 1.5 times the normal hourly pay rate, so someone who typically earns $20 per hour would earn $30 per hour when they work overtime. Many such workers are knowingly misclassified by employers to avoid paying overtime. The California labor commissioner has spotlighted this rampant practice. If you were wrongly classified as exempt, you could be entitled to months or years worth of unpaid overtime compensation.
Choose the California Employment Counsel, APC to Represent Your Claim
When you have been knowingly misclassified in your employment and denied wages and benefits that you should have legally received, you need experienced guidance. An Orange County employee misclassification lawyer can help you recover your losses and hold your employer accountable for their illegal actions. At the California Employment Counsel, APC, our team focuses entirely on employment law and strives to provide every client we represent with individualized, comprehensive legal counsel.
California Employment Counsel, APC, has successfully represented salaried employees and contractors in misclassification claims in Orange County and Southern California. Our lawyers have helped individual clients and groups of employees recover back pay and other damages. As your Orange County employee misclassification attorneys, our team will thoroughly investigate the entire range of lost wages, benefits, and other compensation you were denied and make every effort to maximize your recovery.
Free Initial Consultation · No Recovery, No Attorney Fee
Were You Wrongfully Classified As Exempt From Overtime in California?
Many California workers are more than willing to put in overtime hours to earn extra income. Some people rely on regular overtime to make ends meet. Unfortunately, some California workers mistakenly believe they are not entitled to overtime because of their employers’ intentional misclassification. Misclassification tends to fall into two categories:
- Salaried employees such as managers, assistant managers and administrators may work six or seven days a week, putting in 50, 60 or more hours. Closer analysis often reveals that they do not meet the statutory criteria as exempt employees.
- Independent contractors are also exempt from overtime pay. If they are contracted per project rather than per hour, they may not get any additional pay at all for working beyond 8 hours in a shift or 40 hours in a week. But many contractors are not in fact independent; they are arbitrarily designated as such by employers to get around the overtime rules.
Many employees in these situations often feel stuck, thinking they are making as much as they can when, in fact, they are legally entitled to much more. For example, an independent contractor who spends a full year performing a full-time employee’s duties and meeting California standards for full-time employment could potentially claim tens of thousands of dollars in missed compensation and benefits in this time. An assistant manager who regularly works ten or more overtime hours each week could be entitled to back pay for their overtime hours.
Identifying Employee Classification Errors
There are several criteria to examine when it comes to determining a California employee’s true employment status. Recent employment legislation passed in California aims to make it even more difficult for employers to misclassify and exploit their employees. Some of the factors that must be considered when weighing an employee misclassification claim include:
- The nature of the employee’s work, whether it required professional credentials, advanced knowledge of a specialized field, extensive travel, or extreme skill and care.
- The employee’s work schedule, including hours per week, hours per shift, and days off. California sets clear limits on how much certain types of employees may work before they qualify as different types of employees.
- The employee’s compensation and benefits. California state law requires different types of compensation and benefits for different types of employees. For example, exempt employees may be unable to claim overtime, but only if they work a certain number of hours in a day or a pay period.
- Whether the employee and employer had a formal employment contract. This contract should carefully outline each party’s rights and responsibilities, but some employment contracts are unenforceable. An Orange County employee misclassification attorney can help employees review their contracts and determine their legally owed employee classification.
Our knowledgeable employment law attorneys can examine your job duties, work schedule, autonomy, and other factors to gauge whether you should properly be classified as nonexempt (i.e., an hourly employee). You may have a claim for hundreds of hours of unpaid overtime, plus interest and penalties.
Another benefit to pursuing a legal claim against an employer who intentionally misclassified you is the fact that your legal action could force the employer to revise their practices and prevent similar situations from occurring in the future. At California Employment Counsel, APC, we believe in holding employers who illegally take advantage of their employers accountable for the damage they cause.
What to Expect from Your Claim
The first step in recovering your losses from employee misclassification is to meet with an experienced Orange County employee misclassification attorney. Your attorney can help you determine what employment status applies most accurately to your situation under California state law and whether your employer’s classification aligns with legal statutes. If not, we can investigate your losses, review your employment records, and gather whatever evidence we need to determine the full extent of your claimable damages, which may include:
- Backpay, which should be the difference between what you actually earned and what you should have earned had you been properly classified.
- Unpaid overtime. If you should have received overtime pay for your hours worked under California law, your Orange County employee misclassification lawyer will examine your employment record to calculate the number of overtime hours you are owed. Over a long period of time, this can be quite substantial.
- Lost benefits. If your employer should have provided you with health insurance or other benefits and you were forced to pay out of pocket for expenses that should have been covered, you may be able to claim these expenses as damages in your claim as well.
With a strong claim, your proceedings should be fairly straightforward. Your Orange County employee misclassification lawyer will help prepare you for all your court appearances and the various phases of litigation until you and your employer arrive at a settlement. In some cases, employee misclassification can be a symptom of larger problems with a company. Your employee misclassification claim can shed light on these situations and even potentially lead to criminal proceedings against your employer.
Success with your employee misclassification claim can yield compensation for all the wages, benefits, and overtime pay you should have rightfully earned under applicable employment laws. At California Employment Counsel, APC, our goal is to maximize our client’s recovery in every case.
‘I Think I May Be Misclassified’
Do you believe your employer has misclassified you? It can be difficult to determine how your employment situation should be legally classified, and an experienced Orange County employee misclassification attorney can help clarify your situation. Once you determine the employment classification you should have under California law, talk with us. Our team can help discern whether you have been wrongfully misclassified and denied benefits and compensation.
Employment law is all we do. Our employee misclassification attorneys offer a free consultation and take cases on a contingency fee basis — it costs you nothing upfront to explore your potential claim. Contact us online or call (714) 462-8376 or toll free at 866-545-2415