California Wage and Hour Violations – Does Your Boss Owe You Back Pay?


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Answers to Questions About Your Wage & Hour Rights

Do you wonder if you have a claim against your employer for failure to pay you proper wages?  The
Law Offices of Lowell Steiger and the Law Offices of Steven Waisbren
would like to provide answers to some of the more common questions, and
we are happy to discuss your particular situation at your convenience.


What is the general rule about payment of overtime wages?


Under California law, a “nonexempt” employee
18 years of age or older shall not be employed more than eight hours in
any workday, or more than 40 hours in any workweek unless he or she receives 1½
times his or her regular rate of pay for all hours worked over eight
hours in any workday, over 40 hours in the workweek, or more than six
days in any workweek.

employee is entitled to double his or her regular rate of pay if he or
she works in excess of 12 hours in any workday, and for all hours
worked in excess of eight hours on the seventh consecutive day of work
in a workweek.


What is an exempt employee?


An exempt employee is one to which the overtime wage protections under the California Labor Code do not apply.  If an employee is truly exempt, they are not entitled to overtime wages, regardless of the number of hours he or she works.


How do I know if I am an exempt or nonexempt employee?


There are a number of exemptions which exist, and may apply to your particular situation.  For the most part, these would include the administrative exemption, executive exemption, and the professional exemption.  Generally,
the existence of these exemptions depends upon numerous factors,
including the amount of independent judgment and discretion given to
the employee on significant matters, the extent of
supervisory or managerial duties the employee performs, and, most
importantly, whether the employee performs exempt duties more than 50%
of the time.  Of course, there are a number of other considerations which must be analyzed.

determination of your exemption classification should be made only
after consultation with an attorney since there are many reasons that
an employee may be nonexempt under the law .


What if my employer has classified me as an exempt employee?  Am I bound by that classification?


Absolutely not!!  Many
employers will misclassify employees either mistakenly, or in an effort
to avoid paying the employee overtime wages to which he or she is
entitled.  Don’t assume that your classification is correct.  You may be entitled to many years of back wages, interest, and other damages.


Can I be fired for making a claim for overtime wages?


No.  California law specifically prohibits an employer from doing so.

Interesting Facts About Wage & Hour Claims

·     An
employer is obligated to pay you overtime even if the overtime hours
were not authorized. The employer can discipline you for working
unauthorized overtime hours, but the employer must still pay overtime
wages for those hours.

·     Discretionary
bonuses or monies paid as gifts on holidays are generally not included
for purposes of determining the employee’s regular rate of pay.  Therefore, such bonuses are not computed in the calculation of overtime wages.

·     Even
if an employee is paid a salary, they are still entitled to overtime
wages as long as they are not exempt (See discussion in Q & A

·     As long as overtime wages are paid, an employer may require an employee to work overtime hours.  The  employee may be disciplined for refusing to do so.

·          Any agreement signed by an employee to waive entitlement to overtime wages is not enforceable.  The employer is still obligated to pay overtime.

·          The burden of proving that an employee is “exempt” is on the employer.  The worker is always presumed to be entitled to overtime compensation.

The Law Offices of Lowell Steiger Has Expanded Its Practice 

to Represent You for Your Wage and Hour Claims

    The Law Offices of Lowell Steiger, working in association with the Law
Offices of Steven Waisbren, is happy to provide you with a free
consultation, including a full analysis of your entitlement to overtime
wages, minimum wages, and other back pay and damages.  Give us a call, and we will set up an appointment for you to meet with one of our qualified and experienced attorneys.

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you, or someone you know, have been a victim (or suspect you have been
a victim) of Wage & Hour Abuse, please call me immediately at (323)
852-1100 or send an e-mail to me at

One comment

  1. cindy lewis on

    My boss has deducted from my last paycheck a sum of money equal to 60 hours of what he claims is personal time taken that had not yet accrued. Under the policy you accrue 7.5 days of personal time every 6 months. I disagree that I used 60 hours more than I had accrued . Is this the type of case you handle Is it contingent fee?