In California, employers are obligated to follow certain legal standards in regard to paying their employees for all work performed on behalf of the employer. Unfortunately, not all employers will follow these standards. As such, an employee may sometimes find themselves in a situation where their employer has not paid them all wages due or their employer has paid an unlawfully low wage. Should this occur, what types of legal compensation are an employee legally entitled recover when an employer fails to pay them? This article briefly addresses this question.
First, under California law, employers are legally obligated to pay their employees at least the minimum wage for all work performed for the employer. As of January 1, 2022, the minimum wage in California is $15.00 per hour for companies with 26 employees or more and $14.00 per hour for companies with 25 employees or less.
Additionally, California employers must also pay all nonexempt employees overtime pay (1.5 times the base hourly rate) for any hours worked in excess of 8 hours in a workday. Employers are also required to pay double an employee’s hourly rate for all hours worked in excess of 12 hours in a workday and for all hours worked beyond 8 hours on the seventh consecutive workday in a workweek.
If an employer fails to meet the above legal requirements, an employee can sue the employer in court for violating California’s wage and hour laws. If an employee prevails in their lawsuit, the employer can be required to pay damages, including unpaid wages for any missed wages, interest accrued on any missed wages from the date the wages were originally due, waiting time penalties (which are equivalent to up to 30 calendar days’ worth of an employee’s wages), as well as attorney’s fees and costs, if applicable.
Thus, if you believe that your employer has engaged in wage theft, please feel free to contact our office for a free consultation with an experienced employment law attorney to discuss your options.