Practice Area

Canoga Park Overtime Attorney

Canoga Park Overtime Attorney

Canoga Park Overtime Lawyer

California has strict rules regarding the overtime that employees working within the state must be paid. However, there are many instances when, out of ignorance or intentionally trying to avoid the costs, employees are not paid for the overtime they deserve. When they are met with resistance when seeking overtime compensation, the help of a Canoga Park overtime attorney could be critical to helping them pursue what they are owed.

At Bluestone Law, we fiercely advocate for the rights of employees. When representing our clients, we do everything in our power to see that they receive the compensation they are owed. If your employer is prepared to negotiate a solution, we can work to get you a fair settlement. However, we are also ready to make your case through litigation if that is necessary.

California’s Overtime Laws

California’s labor code sets the rule for overtime pay within the state. There are federal regulations that apply as well, but California’s rules generally offer employers greater overtime compensation than the federal code. The rules for overtime pay that apply in most situations include:

  • Time-and-a-half pay for any hours more than eight but less than twelve in a single day
  • Double-time pay for any hours more than twelve in a day
  • Time-and-a-half pay for any hours more than forty in a
  • workweek
    Time-and-a-half pay for up to eight hours on a seventh consecutive day in a workweek
  • Double-time pay for any hours beyond eight on a seventh consecutive day in a workweek

While these overtime rules will generally apply to most employees, there are certain situations when employees may not receive overtime or have specific overtime rules. These include:

  • Exempt employees
  • Independent contractors
  • Employees belonging to a union with a collectively bargained agreement
  • Minors
  • Agricultural workers
  • Outside salespersons
  • Some healthcare workers
  • Employees who work an alternative workweek schedule
  • Household employees (live-in and non-live-in)
  • Ambulance teams on 24-hour shifts
  • 24-hour childcare employees
  • Some resident managers
  • Personal attendants at nonprofits
  • Ski industry employees
  • Camp counselors
  • “Extras” in the film industry

If you’re not sure what overtime rules apply to your situation but believe that you may be owed overtime pay, a consultation with a lawyer can often be helpful in assessing your circumstances.

Exempt Employees and Independent Contractors

Those who are most frequently identified as not required to receive standard overtime pay are exempt employees and independent contractors. It can sometimes be complicated to understand whether or not an employee fits into one of these categories.

Under California law, an “exempt” employee does not need to be compensated for overtime work or receive the normally required rest and meal breaks. However, they must meet the requirements for being exempt. One of these is that they should have a “white collar” job. This means working in an executive, professional, managerial, or administrative role that requires the use of independent judgment and discretion on behalf of the company.

For instance, someone who determines how company funds are spent, hires and fires employees, makes purchasing decisions, or otherwise makes decisions on behalf of the business could qualify. They also must be compensated with a fixed salary that is equal to or more than twice the minimum wage for a 40-hour work week over the course of the year.

Independent contractors are also exempt from receiving overtime pay. To be an independent contractor, a worker’s relationship with the business must meet certain qualifications. Under California law, an independent contractor must be paid a specified amount for a specified work result, according to their employment contract.

Beyond that, they must have control over the means that they use to produce their work. There are some circumstances when someone may believe they are an independent contractor based on a contract, but their work doesn’t meet these standards, and they are, therefore, not exempt from overtime compensation.

Misclassification of Employees

One of the most common ways that employees have failed to receive overtime compensation is because they were misclassified by their employer. This means that their employer has classified the employee as an independent contractor or as otherwise exempt despite this not being an accurate reflection of their status.

This could be done intentionally, but it is also frequently an error on the part of the employer because it can be complicated to determine whether or not an employee meets these requirements without confirming with a lawyer.

No one is routinely checking to see if an employee marked as exempt from these rules actually falls within the required standards. This means that in most cases, it will be the employee themselves who comes to realize that they may not be receiving the compensation they are due.

If you think you may have been misclassified by your employer, it’s important that you talk with an employment law attorney, as they can help you understand whether or not you meet the qualifications for a “non-exempt” employee who should be receiving overtime pay.

How a Canoga Park Overtime Attorney Can Help

If you believe that you may not have received the overtime pay you’re owed, it’s important that you contact a Canoga Park overtime attorney. They can listen to your story and help determine whether you should have been paid overtime. They can also help you calculate just how much money you are owed and explain the next steps that you should consider.

Wage claims, which are how unpaid overtime claims are classified, are filed with the California Division of Labor Standards and Enforcement. They may also be filed with the U.S. Department of Labor. This is often a complicated process that requires the submission of paperwork and documentation of when you worked and what you were paid.

Completing the paperwork properly and submitting it to the correct departments is crucial to ensuring your wage claim is addressed in a timely fashion. It’s easy to make a mistake in this process if you’re unfamiliar with it. A lawyer can ensure that you have all the paperwork in good order and can even submit it on your behalf as your representative. Because these departments are often overrun with work, it can help to have a lawyer pressuring them to see if your case can be processed quickly.

Settlement vs. Litigation

Before going through the full litigation process, your employer and their representation may have some interest in trying to settle the claim out of court. This can often be an advantageous option for both sides. In particular, you may benefit from avoiding the risks of the litigation process, where even the strongest claim could end with a ruling that’s not in your favor.

A settlement, on the other hand, gives you certainty regarding what you will receive. Litigation could also be a lengthy process, especially if there are any appeals involved. A settlement could be wrapped up relatively quickly.

At Bluestone Law, we can represent you during the settlement process and stand firm to see that you are awarded fair compensation. We make it clear that we have no issue with taking the claim through litigation if that’s what’s necessary. The desire to avoid this on your employer’s part could lead them to be a more willing negotiating partner.

There may be some circumstances in which a fair settlement simply can’t be reached. In this case, we are prepared to continue to represent you and advocate for you through the litigation process instead. This may involve a variety of hearings and requests for further documentation. We can also represent you through the appeals process if the initial ruling doesn’t go your way.

You Are Protected from Retaliation

Sometimes, employees may be hesitant to bring a claim against their employer if they are concerned about some form of retaliation. For instance, an employer could decide to demote an employee, prevent them from getting a promotion that they’ve earned and are qualified for, or even terminate their employment, which may be a case of wrongful termination.

It’s also possible that the retaliation could be more subtle, such as giving the employee worse schedules or work duties or finding other means of making the workplace unbearable.

It is illegal for your employer to retaliate against an employee. There can be significant penalties and fines for retaliation. If you think that you may have been retaliated against by your employer, you should notify your lawyer immediately.

What You Can Collect if There Is an Issue with Overtime Pay

Compensation in an unpaid overtime claim could differ depending on the situation. You could be paid:

  • Unpaid Wages. The wages that you can prove you didn’t receive could be compensated. This is why it can be important to keep a thorough record of what hours you worked and the compensation that you were paid for those hours.

  • Interest on Unpaid Wages. In some situations, you may be eligible to receive interest on unpaid overtime wages, which would extend from the date they should have originally been paid up until they were paid.

  • Attorney’s Fees. Your employer could be required to cover your legal costs if you win a claim against them, so you shouldn’t let fear of the expense of filing a claim hinder you from doing so.

  • Liquidated Damages. This refers to penalties that are assessed if the court feels that the employer was willfully attempting to withhold your overtime compensation. This penalty could be equal to the unpaid overtime.

  • Retaliation Damages. If your employer is proven to have retaliated against you in any way during the process, you may be eligible to receive additional compensation.

What to Do if You Believe You Haven’t Receive Proper Overtime Pay

If you believe you haven’t been properly compensated for the overtime hours that you’ve worked, there are a few steps that you should follow in pursuit of fair compensation. You should review your employment agreement or contract to understand what compensation would have aligned with it. A lawyer can help you understand if you fall into any exempt or modified categories or if you should have received standard overtime pay.

Next, you should review any documentation that you have regarding the situation. Gather any schedules and pay stubs related to the situation that you have. You can calculate the overtime you believe you should have been paid and see if there is a difference in the compensation that you received. A lawyer can also help with these calculations so that you can be sure you have the correct information.

Next, you should bring the situation to your employer’s attention. It may have been an oversight that they can easily rectify. However, if you’d like to ensure that the situation is taken seriously, talk with a lawyer first to understand what they recommend to you.

Lastly, if your efforts to seek compensation have been rejected or ignored, it may be necessary to file a claim. If that’s the case, and you haven’t spoken with an attorney already, it’s critical that you contact a lawyer, like those at Bluestone Law, to give you the strongest chance at fair compensation.

Get Help Seeking the Overtime Pay You’re Owed

When an employer has failed to pay proper overtime compensation, it’s oftentimes the product of an honest mistake. However, whether your employer made an honest mistake or acted intentionally, they may not be eager to compensate you for what you’re owed. Working with a skilled Canoga Park overtime attorney can make a significant difference for workers who have not been given the overtime pay they earned.

When our team at Bluestone Law takes on your case, just the involvement of a lawyer may sometimes be enough to encourage your employer to settle the case fairly. However, if they still dispute the case, our team is prepared to follow the necessary legal processes to seek what you’re owed. We have no hesitation about going through the process of litigation on our client’s behalf.

If you believe you may be owed overtime pay, contact us today to discuss your options. Our accomplished attorneys can walk you through each step in order to hold your employer accountable for their wrongdoing.

Canoga Park Overtime Lawyer