Unfortunately, some employers in California fail to pay their employees their rightful overtime wages. In general, employees in California who work more than eight hours in a single workday are owed 1.5 times their regular rate of pay for each hour over eight. The rate of pay increases even more if you work more than 12 hours in a single workday or if you work for seven consecutive days in a workweek.
Note: California law offers some of the strongest employee protections in the world, and anyone with a wage and hour claim should speak with an employment law attorney about the available options.
Following are some ways that employers sometimes try to avoid paying employees their rightful overtime wages:
Misclassifying you as a salary employee
Sometimes employers classify their employees as salary-paid workers because doing so can let the employer avoid paying overtime wages. If you were classified as a salaried employee but your job duties are the same as or similar to those of other employees who are hourly, you may have been misclassified and you may be owed overtime wages.
Misclassifying you as an independent contractor
The misclassification of employees as independent contractors is an ongoing issue that has received significant attention in recent years. The bottom line is that many employers misclassify employees as independent contractors to try to avoid paying rightful overtime wages and providing employee benefits.
See our overview of employee misclassification to learn more about what constitutes independent contractor status and whether you have been misclassified.
Requiring you to work off the clock
If your employer requires you to perform job duties during your meal or rest breaks, when you’re at home, or at other times when you are not clocked in, your rights as an employee have likely been violated. Time spent working off the clock can add up quickly, especially if your employer has made it seem normal to perform tasks here and there prior to clocking in or after you clock out. Off-the-clock work can quickly extend into overtime, for which you should be paid accordingly.
Our recent post, “What documents do I need to file a wage claim in California?” has some helpful information about gathering supporting evidence for an unpaid overtime claim.