Denial of Proper Overtime Pay: A Real Problem With a Real Solution


Author: Lowell Steiger

Published On: February 11, 2009

Denial of Proper Pay for Employees is Rampant

THE PROBLEM – 

With the economy on a persistent downturn, and the business community feeling the impact, employees are increasingly being denied proper compensation for the work they perform. This either arises because employers mistakenly believe that their employees are not entitled to compensation guaranteed by the California Labor Code or mislead their employees with respect to such entitlement.

Unfortunately, most employees are unaware that they were, or are, entitled to additional compensation under California law until either well into their employment, or until after their employment has ended. California law provides employees with considerable remedies, and subjects employers to substantial liability for violating state law. Denial of proper compensation gives rise to possible legal action against the employer, and potential damages include back pay for overtime, minimum wages, meal and rest breaks, interest, penalties, and attorney’s fees.

THE MISCONCEPTION –

Many workers are uninformed about their rights to compensation as an employee, thereby giving employers the opportunity to take advantage. For example, while the concept of minimum wage is generally understood, most employees assume that if they are a manager or supervisor, they are “exempt” employees not entitled to overtime compensation. Oftentimes, this is not true. In fact, the employee’s job title is irrelevant. A “manager” may still be entitled to overtime compensation, as well as other damages, against an employer, regardless of contrary information provided by the employer, and regardless of the specific job designation or title given to the employee.

THE SOLUTION –

If you have worked overtime hours, or been paid less than the minimum wage required by state law, you should consult an attorney to determine your rights. Even if you believe that you are not entitled to overtime compensation, or other wages, an attorney can provide you with a detailed analysis, and advise you whether such a claim is viable.

Interesting Facts About Wage & Hour Claims –

  • An employee who prevails in a wage and hour claim can claim attorney’s fees as part of his or her damages. However, the employer cannot.
  •  A worker’s job title (i.e., “manager”) means nothing as to whether overtime compensation is due. The true test is the actual duties performed by the worker.
  • A worker who is classified as an independent contractor may still be eligible for overtime compensation and other benefits.
  • A worker who receives a salary may still be entitled to payment of overtime compensation.
  • To prove an overtime claim, a worker does not need any supporting documentation; only his or her testimony showing a “reasonable estimate” of the number of hours worked.
  • 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 Include Wage & Hour Claims

Due to the increased incidence of improper payment of overtime and minimum wages, the Law Offices of Lowell Steiger and the Law Offices of Steven D. Waisbren are proud to announce their association to represent the rights of California workers to be paid proper compensation under the Labor Code. We are 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.

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