Employers often take advantage of their employee's rights to fair wages. Wage and hour violations cause serious problems for workers, especially those who live from paycheck to paycheck. However, wage and hour violations in Long Beach affect a wide array of employees ranging from IT administrators, drivers and nursing assistants to those who are employed in service industry such as restaurant and hotel workers.
Long Beach is a vibrant beach town, which is home to tourist attractions such as the Queen Mary and the Aquarium of the Pacific. In addition, it is home to large employers in a variety of industries such as Boeing, Long Beach Transit, Molina Healthcare and California State University, Long Beach. Regardless of the type of business or industry in which you are employed in Long Beach, if you believe that you are owed unpaid wages by your employer, it is crucial that you reach out to an experienced unpaid wages lawyer in Long Beach to better understand your legal rights and options.
Do You Have an Unpaid Wage Claim in Long Beach?
In California, "wages" are defined as compensation that is earned for work that is performed by an employee. Wages may include salary, hourly pay, bonuses, commissions, sick pay, vacation or paid time off and other forms of compensation. Under California law, employees must be paid for all hours worked at the rate that was agreed on. This includes overtime pay for any hours that were worked in excess of eight hours in a workday or 40 hours per workweek. If your employer has failed to pay wages or provide required benefits, you may be able to file a wage claim with the California Labor Commissioner or file a civil lawsuit in court to recover unpaid wages, penalties as well as other damages such as attorney's fees and court costs.
What Are the Most Common Wage and Hour Violations?
Wage and hour violations could potentially come in a number of forms including:
Misclassification: It is common for employers to sometimes misclassify workers as independent contractors or exempt employees to avoid paying them benefits such as healthcare, overtime or minimum wage. Such unlawful misclassification could result in employees being denied the rights and protections to which they are entitled under the law such as overtime pay, rest and meal breaks and access to benefits such as healthcare. Such unlawful actions on the part of the employers could have not only financial and career implications for employees, but could also subject them to significant stress and emotional pain.
Unpaid wages: Employees have the right under California law to receive all the wages they have rightfully earned. This includes their regular pay, overtime wages, bonuses, commissions, etc. When employers fail to pay employees for all of the hours they have worked or pay less than the rate they agreed to, or do not pay vacation or sick days as agreed, then employees are owed what is known as "unpaid wages." Not paying employees the correct wages could lead to significant financial hardships for them. If you believe that your employer owes you unpaid wages, it would be in your best interest to contact an experienced wage and hour lawyer to explore your options.
Unpaid overtime: California law requires employers to pay non-exempt or hourly employees 1.5 times their regular rate of pay for working more than eight hours in one workday or if they work over 40 hours in a regular workweek. If an employee works over 12 hours in a day, he or she is entitled to twice the regular rate of pay. Employers resort to a number of tactics including misclassifying employees or asking them to work off the clock to avoid paying them overtime. This is illegal and should not be tolerated. If your employer is refusing to pay you for overtime worked, please understand that you have legal rights and are entitled to seek those unpaid wages by filing a wage and hour lawsuit.
Paid sick leave violations: Under the law, workers are entitled to earn or accrue sick leave if they work for the same employer for at least 30 calendar days in a year. Most full-time, part-time, per diem and temporary employees are covered under this law. If your employer refuses to give you paid sick leave, which is required under the law, you may be able to seek compensation for unpaid wages.
Failure to provide meal and rest breaks: Under California law, hourly employees are entitled to 30-minute meal breaks if they work over five hours in a day as well as a 10-minute rest break for every four hours worked. The laws requiring meal and rest breaks are in place to help ensure employees' physical and mental health and their well-being. Employers who fail to provide these legally-required breaks may violate wage and hour laws, causing employees to experience heightened levels of stress and a decreased quality of life.
How Much Time Do You Have to File a Claim for Unpaid Wages?
The time you have to file wage and hour claims in California could vary depending on the type of claim you make against your employer. A majority of common labor code violations fall under a three-year statute of limitations. These include claims for unpaid wages relating to minimum wage, overtime pay, illegal paycheck deductions, unpaid business-related reimbursements, penalties for unpaid final wages and meal and rest break violations.
It is critical that you maintain documentation so you can prove that you were not paid the wages that were due. In some situations, the three-year time limit for unpaid wage claims could be extended to four years if an employer engaged in unfair business practices under California's Unfair Competition Law.
If you or a loved one have faced hardships due to unpaid wages, it is well advised to schedule a free consultation with an experienced California unpaid wage claim lawyer.
How Do You File for Unpaid Wages in Long Beach?
In order to file for unpaid wages with the California Labor Board, you must fill out an “Initial Report or Claim” and deliver it to your local Labor Board office. You will need to state on the wage claim form the amount you are seeking as unpaid wages. In order to state the correct amount, you will need documentation such as pay stubs to substantiate your claim. You may also need the assistance of an experienced Long Beach unpaid wages attorney to make sure you are claiming all the wages and compensation you are owed. Once you fill out and sign the form, you must deliver it to your local Labor Commissioner's office.
Long Beach Unpaid Wage Attorneys
If you believe that you are the victim of wage theft in Long Beach, the experienced wage and hour lawyers at Kingsley & Kingsley Lawyers can help you recover unpaid wages and other compensation to which you are entitled. Whether your employer is refusing to pay you the correct minimum wage or overtime pay, we can help protect and uphold your rights under California labor laws. Call us today for a free, comprehensive and confidential consultation.