Los Angeles Wage & Hour Disputes Lawyer
Most California families live from hand to mouth. They count on their paychecks for survival. And, they have a legal and moral right to expect a fair wage for a fair day’s work. Wage theft in any form is often financially devastating for workers, but to employers, such behavior is just protecting their bottom lines.
If a legal dispute arises, the employer has a posse of lawyers who are committed to preserving its interests. A thorough Los Angeles wage & hour disputes lawyer from the Obagi Law Group is the best way, and usually the only way, to level the playing field. Without such representation, the employer’s legal team will almost certainly short-circuit your legal and financial rights.
Overtime and Exempt Employees
California’s overtime law works a bit differently from the laws in other states. Typically, workers are entitled to time-and-a-half for any time they put in above forty hours a week. In the Golden State, overtime usually accrues daily. So, if Karen works 9 hours on Monday and 7 hours every day thereafter, she is entitled to one hour of overtime, even though her weekly total was below forty.
Some employees are exempt from overtime requirements. Most of these categories are rather subjective. Some examples include:
- Executives: Some employers do not pay managers overtime, citing the Labor Department’s rule that an executive is a worker who “customarily and regularly direct[s] the work of at least two or more other full-time employees or their equivalent.” But that’s on;\ly one component of the official definition. When considered as a whole, it’s clear that only C-level employees qualify under this exemption.
- Professionals: A professional degree, like a law degree, does not necessarily invoke this overtime exemption. The job description is what matters. This exemption only applies if the employee performs “work which is predominantly intellectual in character and which includes work requiring the consistent exercise of discretion and judgment.”
- Computer Workers: Employees whose “primary” duties involve the “design, documentation, testing, creation or modification of computer programs related to machine operating systems.” Some employers define “primary” as 51 percent or more. But the law usually requires a much higher proportion, such as 80 percent of the employee’s time.
Employers may pay servers and a few other workers a sub-minimum wage, as long as their wage plus tip income meets or exceeds the minimum threshold.
A growing employment law trend involves abuse of the unpaid intern exception. Frequently, employers hire interns, assign them duties which entry-level employees usually perform, and pay these interns essentially nothing.
Such an arrangement clearly benefits the employer, who circumvents the minimum wage requirement. But this arrangement clearly does not benefit the intern, who learns little or nothing about the business. Unpaid intern abuse is especially common in professional offices, like law offices, and in the creative arts, like music, fashion, and film.
Other factors in the intern vs. employee area include the length of the relationship, the hours worked, displacement of paid employees (if any), and the similarity of the intern position to an academic environment.
Rely on a Thorough Los Angeles County Wage & Hour Attorney
The law guarantees equal opportunity for everyone. For a confidential consultation with an experienced Los Angeles wage & hour disputes lawyer, contact the Obagi Law Group. P.C. After-hours visits are available.