California employees often work an extra hour or two just to finish certain tasks. Basically, it is their right to do so, and as such, they have the right to receive overtime pay, which is basically one and one-half times their regular rate of pay. Employers who operate their businesses in the state should always strictly adhere with the California Labor Code and the other federal and state wage and hour laws by promptly and correctly paying them for all their hours worked beyond their 8-hour workday or 40-hour workweek.
But then, a lot of employers commit overtime law violations such as not paying their employees their wages for all their hours worked, including their extended working hours. Unfortunately, such conduct remains as one of the most common unfair labor practices that happen in California, and are, not surprisingly, the main subject of a lot of wage complaints filed by aggrieved employees.
Violations of overtime laws
Other than the failure to provide employees overtime, there are other overtime violations that California employers commit, such as the following:
- • Misclassification of non-exempt employees as independent contractors. As it is, independent contractors (ICs) are not entitled to receive overtime payments. However, employers tend to get out of their way to cheat their non-exempt employees by misclassifying them as ICs. Doing so is a clear violation of the labor laws.
- • Misclassification of non-exempt employees as exempt. The only difference between a non-exempt and an exempt employee is that the former receives overtime while the latter does not. But like the one above, some employers misclassify non-exempts as exempt. In both instances, employers often do these in an effort to cut costs.
- • Failure of employers to provide all back wages to employees who were reclassified as non-exempt after being labeled as an exempt. While there are businesses that are quick to admit their mistakes of misclassifying non-exempt employees as exempt, they either delay or fail to pay them all of their back wages, including their overtime payments.
What to do if you have not being paid overtime?
If you are a California non-exempt employee and you have been waiting in vain for your employer to pay you your overtime wages, then it is best that you do something about it. Here are some of the important things to do as soon as possible:
- • Raise your oral or written wage complaint with anyone in your workplace. It could be anyone within the management or your company’s human resources department.
- • If the department you submitted your complaint with failed to address the situation, then it is best that you report it with the appropriate agency. It could be with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division or with the California Department of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE).
- • Another way for you to ensure that you are protected while filing your overtime violation complaint is by hiring an expert labor attorney. That way, you can be ready to take legal action in case your employer retaliates against you for exercising a protected activity.
You deserve to be paid for all your hours worked, including those beyond your 8-hour workday. Taking advantage of the situation without any delay will bring you closer to attaining the wages that are owed to you by your erring employer.