Our wage attorneys can help employees recover unpaid wages either due to a job termination, or due to a labor violation. The portion of this article discussing meal breaks, minimum wage, overtime, and rest break pay pertains to nonexempt employees. Nonexempt employees are hourly, but can also be salaried employees. Different labor protections exist for nonexempt employees than exempt employees.
Nonexempt employees use independent discretion less than half of the time, are generally not licensed, do not manage employees, and do not earn high enough wages to put them into the category of exempt employees. In order to qualify as nonexempt employees must earn at least twice minimum wage if they are a supervisor or manager.
Nonexempt employees are owed:
Both exempt and nonexempt employees are entitled to be paid Contracted:
Bonuses, commissions, double time pay, minimum wage, overtime, and stock options are considered wages. A failure to pay these wages when an employee is fired, or within 72 hours of their resignation creates a California Labor Code Section violation.
Call 1-877-525-0700 to speak to an employee wage recovery law firm
Minimum wage is a basic rate of pay set by both the State of California and the Federal government. Federal minimum wage is well below California minimum wage so at this time our wage attorneys do not sue for FLSA violations.
At the time this article was written, California minimum wage was $10.50 an hour. Gradual increases will rise the rate to $15.00 an hour over the next few years.
Many local governments have also set minimum wages. Relevant Silicon Valley minimum wages include: $11.00 an hour for Mountain View, Palo Alto, Santa Clara, and Sunnyvale.
Complex minimum wage questions come up when trying to determine an employee’s hourly rate if they are paid a piece rate which may also be referred to as commissions. Only a very experienced labor lawyer can advise an employee whether they are being appropriately paid minimum wage and overtime if they are paid through piece rates. Failure to pay proper minimum wage for piece work recently resulted in a $750,000 class action settlement for our firm.
Minimum wage must be paid for every hour of work in California. Federal law differs. If you have questions whether you were properly paid minimum wage call 1-877-525-0700.
Overtime pay is generally due to nonexempt workers for work more than eight hours in a day or forty in a week. There are certain industries, such as home health care workers, who must work more than eight hours in a day in order to earn overtime.
Overtime is calculated at 1.5 times the employee’s normal hourly rate.
Common exemptions to overtime include
Outside sales people who spend more than half their time making outside sales
Drivers of trucks that have two or more axles
Managers who earn twice or more minimum wage and regularly supervise 2 or more full-time employees
It is best to describe your particular job to a qualified overtime lawyer so they can determine if you might be exempt. Employers intentionally or negligently misclassify employees as exempt. In the event of a large group of misclassified employees a class action may be appropriate.
Failures to pay bonuses, commissions, and stock options can result in substantial damages. One of our firm’s largest settlements for only two employees was a $1,150,000 recovery for unpaid commissions for computer software. Stock ownership cases are worth pursuing if the stock has a value and the company is making money.
If you believe your employer failed to pay you bonuses, commissions, or stock options you must consult with an experienced Silicon Valley labor lawyer. Ideally the labor lawyer needs to see the written documentation you believe controls your bonus, or commission situation. Likewise, stock option agreements with your employer should be reviewed by our labor attorneys. The language in the document matters. The best advice can be given after we have reviewed the document controlling the wages you believe you were not paid. Soimetimes employees no longer have their pay agreement and a lawsuit must be filed in order to get it. If that is the case be prepared to accurately explain your pay agreement.
Lawsuits for unpaid bonuses, commissions, and stock options can be large. It is definitely worth your time to see if you were properly paid. Call 1-877-525-0700 to begin the process of hiring a California wage lawyer.
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