In a competitive labor market, against the backdrop of The Great Resignation, many employees are reevaluating their working conditions.
For some people, this means seeking a job with better benefits or finding an employer that allows remote work.
Other employees may discover that their employers are violating labor laws. Federal and state laws protect employees from labor abuse, but employees aren’t always aware of these safeguards.
Whether your employer accidentally or intentionally commits labor law violations, you deserve fair compensation.
At Workplace Rights Law Group LLP, we help employees who have been treated unfairly by their employers. If you suspect your employer of employment law violations, we may be able to help you get paid.
Here, we’ll highlight three laws that your employer may be breaking.
Working Too Many Hours
To understand work hour restrictions, you should know that labor laws such as the Fair Labor Standards Act divide employees into two groups:
- Exempt employees, including executive, administrative, professional and outside sales employees, who meet requirements do not qualify for overtime pay; and
- Non-exempt employees include hourly workers and qualify for overtime pay.
If a non-exempt employee works more than eight hours a day or 40 hours a week, they must receive one and one-half times their regular rate of pay.
Regardless of whether employees meet these hour limits, if they work seven days in a row, then they receive time-and-a-half pay for the hours worked on the seventh day.
At some point, excess hours worked are compensated at an even higher rate. When an employee works more than 12 hours in a day or more than eight hours on the seventh consecutive day of work, the employee receives double pay for those extra hours.
Employers must pay overtime even if the employee wasn’t authorized to work those extra hours. Employees can’t waive their rights to receive payment for extra work.
Paying Less than Minimum Wage
Some employers pay employees less than the required minimum wage, which federal law currently sets at $7.25 per hour. Some states and cities may have an even higher minimum wage.
For instance, starting January 1, 2022, California minimum wage is:
- $14 per hour for employers with less than 26 employees; and
- $15 per hour for employers with 26 or more employees.
Some employers are exempt from California minimum wage laws. If you fit into these categories, your employer is not required to pay California minimum wage:
- Outside salesperson;
- Parent, spouse, or child of the employer; and
- Apprentices regularly indentured under the State Division of Apprenticeship Standards.
Learners in their first 160 hours of employment must receive 85% of the minimum wage.
A number of California cities’ minimum wage rates are even higher than those required by California state law. An employer must pay the highest required minimum wage, whether set by federal, state, or local law.
Classifying Workers Incorrectly
As we discussed, classifying employees into exempt or non-exempt categories has important implications for overtime wages.
However, workers can also be classified as contractors, meaning they are not an employee of the business. Many employers use this classification to avoid paying federal and state taxes on employee wages.
In January 2020, California Assembly Bill 5 (AB 5) made dramatic changes to California labor law on contractors. The law adopts an “ABC Test” to determine if a California worker is a contractor or employee.
That test presumes a worker to be an employee unless the employer can prove that the worker:
- Is free from control and direction of the hiring company;
- Performs work outside the usual course of the company’s business; and
- Is customarily engaged in an independently established occupation of the same nature as the work performed.
If one of these three requirements does not apply, the worker must be considered an employee of the company.
There are dozens of exceptions to this law, so if you are concerned about being incorrectly classified as a contractor, you should seek legal advice from an experienced employment lawyer.
Contact an Employment Attorney
If you think your employer may have made an error on one of these labor violations examples, you should speak to an experienced attorney.
At Workplace Rights Law Group, our attorneys have a combined nearly 100 years of experience protecting workers from labor law violations. We’ve recovered millions for employees, and we want to help you too.
Contact us for a free consultation to share your story and learn your legal options.