Oakland Wage and Hour Lawyers Protect Workers’ Rights
Determined representation focused on recovering your full pay
If you put in an honest day’s work, the law says you are entitled to an honest day’s pay. Unfortunately, some unscrupulous employers try to get around the law so they can take advantage of workers, sometimes even paying them less than the legal minimum. At the Law Offices of John E. Hill, P.C., we stand up for workers who have been underpaid, helping them recover full pay and damages. Since 1993, our employment law attorneys have provided dedicated service with personal attention to every client. We are determined to assert your rights effectively and deliver the positive results you deserve.
Wage and hour law basics in California
Workers in Oakland and throughout the Bay Area are protected by state and federal law. The wage and hour protections you enjoy include:
- A higher minimum wage — The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, but California’s minimum is higher. Depending on the size of the company you work for, you should make at least $10 an hour, even if you receive tips.
- Overtime pay at a higher rate — If you work more than eight hours in a day, your employer must pay “time and a half” for each extra hour. If you work more than 12 hours in a day, your employer must pay “double time,” from that point. You are also entitled to an overtime rate after 40 hours worked in a single week.
- Rest breaks — After five hours, you are entitled to a 30-minute meal break. You cannot work more than 10 hours without an additional 30-minute break unless the workday is less than twelve hours. You are also entitled to a paid 10-minute rest every four hours.
The law is very clear on these issues, but too often workers are denied their wage and hour rights, and wind up working for an illegally low rate of real compensation.
Common ways employers attempt to deny wage and hour rights
Employers are always looking for ways to get greater productivity from workers without paying more for their labor. Unfortunately, some methods violate the law:
- Requiring off the clock work — Some industries are notorious for requiring employees to do prep work before punching in, and perform job-related tasks after punching out.
- Charging for uniforms — If your employer cleans and presses your uniform, the charges for this service must be reasonable, and cannot simply be a means of recouping your pay.
- Classifying employees as exempt workers — Salaried workers are exempt from overtime laws. This leads many companies to classify workers as salaried employees when their positions don’t meet the requirements.
- Denying meal/rest breaks — Some companies allow workers to sit and rest, but give them work-related tasks to complete while they are resting their feet. A rest break should be free of any obligation.
If you suspect your employer is using illegal tactics to drive down your earnings, it’s time to speak to an experienced wage and hour lawyer.
Remedies for wage and hour violations in California
If individual workers could recover only their wage losses in a lawsuit, few could afford to take action, and unscrupulous employers could flout the law. So, in the interest of justice, California has given workers the right to recover more than their lost pay, including:
- Penalties — You can recover a penalty to compensate for the time you spend waiting for your pay. The amount is equal to a day’s wages for each day waiting, up to 30 days.
- Attorney’s fees — If you prevail in your wage and hour claim, the employer must pay your legal fees.
- PAGA — California’s Private Attorney General Act allows workers to bring Labor Code violation claims against current and former employers, on their own behalf and for fellow workers. PAGA imposes a penalty of $50 per employee for the first violation, and $100 per employee for the second and subsequent violations. California law holds employers and business owners personally liable for penalties.
The law in California gives workers the tools to pursue wage and hour claims, but you still need an attorney with the knowledge and skill to build your case. When you entrust your case to the Law Offices of John E. Hill, you get experienced employment litigation attorneys determined to deliver the results you deserve.
Speak to our employment attorneys today about your wage and hour claim
Denying employees overtime is illegal. To learn how you can take legal action for yourself and your coworkers, schedule a free consultation at the Law Offices of John E. Hill, P.C. Located in Oakland, we represent clients throughout Northern California. Call us today at (510) 588-1000, or contact our firm online. Hablamos español.