The state of California has stringent fair employment laws that function to protect employees from unfair treatment by their employer. Since the central tenet of employment is the exchange of labor, whether mental or physical, for payment, wage and hour laws are especially vital to maintaining a balance of power between the employer and the employee.
However, these laws are often abused by disgruntled employees who seek to gain profit by filing claims that may not be entirely true. It is helpful to be knowledgeable of wage and hour laws so you can protect your business against fabricated claims.
The Different Types of Wage and Hour Claims
An employee can bring a claim against a business based on one or more of the following violations:
- Employee misclassification – Employers cannot misclassify contractors, non-exempt employees, or exempt employees. In other words, an employee’s classification should be determined by his or her duties, not his or her title.
- Off-the-clock work without pay – If an employee is forced to work overtime due to high demands, he or she must be compensated for the extra time unless the work falls under overtime exemptions.
- Denying meal and rest breaks – Employees cannot be prohibited from taking proper meal and rest breaks.
- Withholding bonuses or commissions – If bonuses or commissions were agreed upon employment, the employer cannot withhold these payments from the employee. Even if an employee leaves, he or she is entitled to receive the bonus or commissions he or she made.
Generally, “white-collar” employees who receive payment “on a salary basis” are exempted from receiving the overtime bonus pay. In California, these include executive, administrative, professional, and outside sales employees.
Making Things Right
As a business owner, you must be very careful with what you say and do. Even if you cross a legal boundary accidentally, you may still face severe penalties. If you have any questions regarding employment law in Orange County, get in touch with an experienced attorney at McFarlin LLP. Call us toll-free today at (888) 728-0044.