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Overtime, Breaks, and Wages: How Your California Employer Might Be Breaking the Law

Posted by Brian Vogel | Dec 11, 2017 | 0 Comments

While we often hear about sexual harassment and employment discrimination in the news as the more hot-button ways employers get in trouble for violating their employees; rights, one of the more common, often unnoticed, and devious ways employers illegally profit off the backs of their employees is through violation of so-called “wage and hour” laws. Usually, widespread violations of these laws fall under the headings of overtime, breaks, and wage requirements.

If your employer is violating any of these rules in California, you may be able to recover financial damages and other forms of legal relief by bringing a legal action with the help of a California employment attorney.

Overtime Laws in California

Hourly workers and many salaried workers who work more than 8 hours in a single day or more than 40 hours in a given week are entitled to receive overtime pay for any hours over that amount equivalent to 150% of their average hourly wages, or “time and a half” as it is often called.

The rules for when a salaried worker are entitled to overtime are complex, but all workers making under $43,680 in 2017 (the numbers increase in successive years) are eligible for overtime. Workers making over that amount are also eligible for overtime, unless they fit into an exemption, such as working in a professional, administrative, or executive position.

Minimum Wage Laws

Minimum wages can set by federal, state, and local law in some cases. The California minimum wage in 2017 is $10.50 for workers in companies with 26 or more employees, and $10.00 for workers in companies with 25 or less employees. Those numbers rise to $11.00 an hour and $10.50 an hour, respectively on January 1, 2018.

Many cities require higher minimum wages however. The minimum wage in both Los Angeles and Pasadena will be $13.25 for companies with 26 or more employees as of January 1, 2018, and $12.00 for companies with 25 or fewer employees.

Break Laws

In addition to the pay you receive, California law mandates that hourly and non-exempt salaried workers receive breaks throughout out the day. Employees should receive one paid ten-minute break after 3.5 hours of work, a second break after 6 hours of work, and a third break after 10 hours. In addition, workers must receive an unpaid 30-minute lunch break if they work at least 5 hours in a day.

A Note About Independent Contractor Misclassification

Many employers try to avoid paying proper wages, providing overtime pay, and honoring breaks by classifying workers as independent contractors and not employees. While independent contractors are subject to different rules as employees, employers cannot misclassify an employee as an independent contractor to get out of these requirements. Speak with an employment attorney to discuss whether your employer is misclassifying you as an independent contractor.

Contact a Pasadena Wage and Hour Attorney Today

The Law Offices of Brian I. Vogel represents California workers in helping them win justice and financial recovery through wage and hour violation actions, employment discrimination, wrongful termination, and other employment law actions. With three decades of experience in bringing hundreds of actions on behalf of California workers, Brian Vogel has the skills, tenacity, and deep knowledge of California and federal employment law to fight for justice on your behalf.
If you believe your wage and hour rights have been violated in the workplace, contact attorney Brian I. Vogel today to schedule a consultation regarding your options.

About the Author

Brian Vogel

Working Hard for Workers' Rights Brian I. Vogel graduated with a philosophy degree from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia in 1982 and with a law degree from Benjamin Cardozo School of Law in New York in 1986 and has been a licensed California attorney since 1987. Employment attorney Brian Vo...


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