Overtime, Wage Theft and Unlawful Pay

We have handled many cases involving claims for unpaid wages. In California, employees must be paid for all time worked. This applies to work carried out by employees before or after a shift, or any work done “off-the-clock” and not included in the time records. Furthermore, an employee is entitled to time-and-a half pay for hours worked over eight hours in any workday, and over 40 hours in a workweek.


Overtime & Meal and Rest Breaks

In California, the law guarantees employees overtime pay at a rate of one and a half times their hourly rate if they work more than 40 in a given week or over 8 hours on any given day. An employee is entitled to double their regular rate of pay where they work over 12 hours on any given day. Employees are also entitled to uninterrupted meals and rest breaks during their workday.


Work that is “off the clock” is any work performed for an employer that is not compensated at either the regular or overtime rate. “Off-the-clock” work varies by employer and even industry. Essentially, all job-related activities that benefit the employer should be part of the employee’s paid time.

Vacation Pay

An employee who is terminated or laid off must be paid all of his or her earned and unpaid wages, including unused vacation or other paid time off, at the time of termination.


Employers sometimes improperly classify their employees as “managers” or as “independent contractors,” to prevent those employees from receiving meal and rest breaks or overtime. An employee who is classified as a “manager” but required to do non-managerial tasks may be entitled to unpaid overtime as well as compensation for meal and rest period violations. Similarly, an employee who is improperly classified as an independent contractor, but treated like an employee, may be entitled to compensation.

Tip Pooling

“Tip pooling” is the practice of gathering some or all of the tips earned by several employees, and then splitting them up in previously-agreed percentages. In California, employer-mandated tip pooling is generally considered legal, as long as certain conditions are met.


Commissions are earnings based on a percentage of the price of goods or services an employee sells. A written commission agreement determines when the commissions are considered earned. Once the commissions are earned, California’s regular payday laws apply. This means you must be paid at least twice a month, including any commissions that you’ve earned.

Did You Know

If you’ve experienced a distressing incident related to an issue like this, call us for a free case evaluation.


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