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We represent employees who have been underpaid, mistreated, and wrongfully terminated by their employers. We believe in your case and will not charge you unless we obtain a recovery via settlement or at trial. Whether your employer has failed to properly pay you for your hard-earned wages, overtime hours, or discriminates against you on the basis of your race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or disability, we will fight vigorously until we achieve the best result for your case. We will never pressure you to settle and are eager to let you tell your story to a jury. We handle the following types of employment matters (click on the links for a brief overview of your rights).

Wage & Hour

  • Unpaid Overtime

    The law recognizes that your employer has all the power to dictate to employees like you how and when you will get paid and whether you will be allowed to earn any overtime. Employees who do not qualify for overtime are called “exempt” employees.

    In order to avoid paying you overtime, your employer must prove that you are “exempt.” In order to prove you are exempt, the employer must show that:

    1. Your employer pays you a minimum annual salary that is equal to double the minimum wage for a 40-hour work week (currently $840.00 per week and $43,680.00 per year). This minimum salary must be paid regardless of the amount of hours you actually work in a particular week. For example, if you work 30 hours in one week because of a light workload, your employer must still pay you at least $840.00 per week. On the flipside, if you work 60 hours in a particular week, you would only be entitled to the $840.00. Depending on your employer’s policies, your salary may be reduced if you take time off for sick leave or vacation.
    2. You possess some specialized skills or training, or supervise at least 2 other employees. The burden is on your employer to prove that you are exempt so please contact us immediately to ensure you have not been misclassified. If a jury finds that your employer has misclassified you, you will be entitled to overtime (for hours worked in excess of 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week), double overtime (for hours worked in excess of 12 hours per day), waiting time penalties, and wage statement violations.

    Example: John Works Monday – Friday for 12 hours each day. How much overtime does John earn for that week at a regular wage of $10 per hour?

     

    Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri Hours Pay
    Reg 8 8 8 4 0 28  $280.00
    OT 4 4 4 8 12 32  $480.00
     $760.00

     

    On Thursday, John will earn 8 hours of overtime (since he hits the 40-hour mark by the 4th hour) and on Friday, John will earn overtime for all 12 hours since he exceeded 40 hours of work for the week by Thursday. In our example, John worked a total of 60 hours for the week. Without the 1.5X multiplier, John would have only received $600.00 for that week, which amounts to a difference of $160.00 per week and $8,320.00 per year in unpaid overtime using the above example.

  • Misclassified Employees

    California law requires that employers pay all non-exempt employees 1.5 times their hourly wage for all hours worked in excess of 8 hours in one day, all hours in excess of 40 hours, and all hours worked on the 7th consecutive workday. The following examples demonstrate how overtime is calculated in different situations.

    Example: John Works Monday – Friday for 12 hours each day. How much overtime does John earn for that week at a regular wage of $10 per hour?

    On Thursday, John will earn 8 hours of overtime (since he hits the 40-hour mark by the 4th hour) and on Friday, John will earn overtime for all 12 hours since he exceeded 40 hours of work for the week by Thursday. In our example, John worked a total of 60 hours for the week. Without the 1.5X multiplier, John would have only received $600.00 for that week, which amounts to a difference of $160.00 per week and $8,320.00 per year in unpaid overtime using the above example

  • Unpaid Vacation & Sick Leave

    California law requires that employers provide you with paid time off and requires that your employer provide with you a minimum of 1 hour of paid time off for every 30 hours of work although the employer may cap your sick time at 72 hours per year (employees who work within the City of Los Angeles are entitled to a higher minimum cap of 96 hours per year). Your employer is also required to pay you for unused sick time and vacation time at the time of your termination. If your employer has failed to provide you with paid time off or has refused to pay you for time off that you worked hard to earn, contact us immediately and we will fight to get you every dollar you deserve.

  • Unpaid Meal & Rest Breaks

    California law generally requires that employers provide you with a 30-minute meal period if you work 5 or more hours in one day and two 30-minute meal periods if you work more than 10 hours in one day. (California Labor Code Section 512).

    Your employer does not have to pay you for a meal period unless it is an “on duty” period where you are required to do some work during your break or you are interrupted. If your employer requires you to remain onsite during your meal period, your employer must pay you for your lunch. If you would like to learn of the exceptions to the general rules, please contact us immediately and we will advise you based on your specific situation.

    Your employer must also provide you with a paid 10-minute rest break for every 4 hours of work.

Wrongful Termination

  • Wrongful Termination

    California law prohibits your employer from firing you for an unlawful or protected reason. In other words, your employer may NOT fire you on the basis of your: race, religion, national origin, gender, or sexual orientation. If you believe you have been fired for any of these reasons, please contact us immediately to explore your options.

  • Whistleblowing

    California law prohibits your employer from retaliating against you for making complaints about your employer or workplace to: (1) a government agency; or (2) a supervisor, manager, officer, or executive. Contact us immediately if you have or will soon file a complaint with a government agency or supervisor so that we may advise you on the steps you need to take to protect your rights. Though not always necessary, it is best to make all complaints in writing and to keep a copy for your records. Even if that writing is an email or text message, make sure to keep copies of all complaints you make and any responses you receive.

  • Maternity/Paternity Leave

    In California, eligible pregnant and bonding mothers can take up to 4 months of job-protected pregnancy disability leave under California Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL), and up to 12 weeks of bonding leave under the California Family Rights Acts (CFRA). State Disability Insurance (SDI) provides 55% of your weekly wages up to a maximum of 52 weeks.

    Examples of pregnancy disability may include, but are not limited to: severe morning sickness, prenatal or postnatal care, need for bed rest, gestational diabetes, pregnancy-induced hypertension, preeclampsia, post-partum depression, lactation conditions such as mastitis, loss or end of pregnancy, and recovery from loss or end of pregnancy.

  • Hostile Work Environment

    California law prohibits your employer and co-workers from harassing you, embarrassing you, or mistreating you in any other way because of your race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, marital status, sex, age, or sexual orientation. Your employer has a duty to take reasonable steps to prevent harassment from occurring. Contact us immediately if you are being harassed or mistreated by anyone at your place of work for any of the above reasons.

  • Sexual Harassment

    In California, there are generally two types of sexual harassment claims recognized by the Courts: (1) hostile work environment as described in our Hostile Work Environment Section and (2) quid pro quo. Quid pro quo harassment occurs when your employer subjects you to unwanted sexual advances or harassment in exchange for keeping your job or any other job benefit such as a raise, promotion, etc.

FAQ

  • What is at-will employment?

    A: California is an “at-will employment” state. At-will means that either the employer or the employee may terminate the relationship at any time and without notice. This is true even if there is an employment contract unless the contract specifically states that notice must be given prior to termination or that the employment cannot be terminated without cause.

  • Can I be fired without cause?

    A: Unless you have an employment contract that states otherwise, you may be terminated without any cause so long as you are not being terminated on the basis of your race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, etc. and so long as you are not being terminated as retaliation for a protected complaint you made about your employer to either a supervisor or government agency.

  • Am I required to provide my employer with notice before quitting my job?

    A: Generally, no. However, it is usually best practice to provide at least two weeks notice as a courtesy to your employer and your co-workers.

  • Can I sue my employer in Court if I signed an arbitration agreement?

    A: It depends on whether your arbitration agreement is valid. If it is valid, you will not be allowed to file a lawsuit in Court and will have to sue in arbitration. Arbitration is a less formal process than Court and not all of the same rules apply. There are no juries in arbitration.

    If your arbitration agreement is not valid, you may file your lawsuit in Court. Keep in mind that employers will often demand arbitration so you need a strong attorney who will fight for your right to a jury trial.

  • Am I entitled to overtime pay?

    A: Most employees are entitled to overtime in California if they work more than 8 hours in one day, more than 40 hours per week, or more than 6 consecutive days in one week. You will not be entitled to overtime if you are “exempt” from overtime. There are many exemptions, including professionals (lawyers, accountants, engineers, etc), administrators (those who perform managerial duties and supervise other employees), etc.

  • Am I entitled to overtime if my employer pays me a weekly salary?

    A: Maybe. Your employer cannot avoid paying you overtime simply because you are paid on a salary basis. In order to be exempt from overtime you must: (1) fall under the exemption categories discussed above; AND (2) be paid a minimum weekly salary that is equal to or greater than double the minimum wage for 40 hours (currently $840 per week and $43,680 per year)* regardless of the hours you work in a week. Since California’s minimum wage is set to increase each year, your minimum salary will also increase. If the Federal Government sets a minimum salary that is higher than California’s minimum, you will be entitled to the higher minimum salary.*

    *Under President Obama, the Federal Government increased the minimum salary to $47,476, which is higher than California’s current minimum salary but a Court has blocked the Federal Government from implementing the $47,476 minimum so it currently does not apply. However, many employers increased salaries before the Court blocked the increase so your salary may have increased already.

    For example, if you are an exempt employee and your weekly salary is $1,000.00, your employer must pay you that $1,000.00 whether you work 60 hours in a particular week or 30 hours. The employer may deduct wages for sick leave or other time off depending on the situation but generally must guarantee that you will be paid $1,000.00 per week regardless of the amount of hours.

  • Am I entitled to take a lunch break?

    A: All hourly employees (non-exempt) are entitled to an uninterrupted 30-minute meal period. Exempt employees are not entitled to any meal breaks. Your employer does not have to pay you for lunch unless you are interrupted during lunch and asked to perform work during your lunch break.

  • Am I entitled to take rest breaks during the day?

    A: All hourly employees (non-exempt) are entitled to an uninterrupted 10-minute rest break for every four hours of work performed. Exempt employees are not entitled to rest breaks. Your employer does have to pay you for rest breaks.