Wage and Hour Claims
Many people truly enjoy their jobs and enjoy being at work. For some, work may not even feel like work. Regardless of if you have found your calling or simply work to live, the bottom line of all employment is to earn money so that you can support yourself and your family. Jobs are transactional. As you sell your manpower, brainpower, and talent to your Pasadena employer, they are obligated to give you a set amount of money in return. When an employer does not uphold their end of the bargain by withholding wages or money that you have earned, you have the right to fight back. Wage and hour claims are some of the most complicated claims in employment law, but they are more common than you may think. You can take action if you’ve been treated unfairly concerning your wages or hourly claims.
Why Do Wage Laws Exist?
Wage laws are written and developed to protect employees in the modern workforce. Without these laws, employers could demand unrealistic hours, offer poor payment, and work their employees to death. While at one time there were no laws to protect workers in the United States, times have changed drastically. In the modern-day, wage and hour laws make up a significant and complicated part of the legal system. Because breaking these laws is an exploitation of workers, wage law cases are taken extremely seriously and can invoke dire consequences to employers who are found guilty.
California Wage Laws
Employers in the state of California are obligated to abide by wage laws set forth by the state and federal governments. These laws determine the minimum hourly amount that can be paid to employees, how many hours an employee can work per week, and how old an employee must be
(child labor). Failing to abide by these laws is considered wage theft and can be punished by law. There are three main categories of wage theft that can occur:
Though wage theft can occur in other ways, these are three very common ways that employers can steal from their employees.
Federal vs. State
Many people feel confused about the discrepancies between the federal minimum wage and the state minimum wage. For many states, the minimum wage is higher than the federal one. No matter what the situation, employers must pay the minimum wage that is higher. For example, the current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. As stated above, California’s minimum wage is $13 or $14, depending on the business size. Therefore, employers in California must payeither $13 or $14 for minimum wage because it is higher than the federal wage of $7.25.
Vacation and Sick Time
In California, employers are required to give their employees sick time. This time off can be used for personal illness of any kind or time off to care for a family member or child who is sick. These laws help to slow the spread of diseases and ensure that employees can take the appropriate time to rest when they aren’t feeling well. Vacation time is a bit different. California does not require employers to offer vacation time to their employees. This does not mean that the employees cannot take a vacation, but it does mean that the employer is not obligated to pay the employee while they are on vacation. However, many businesses offer vacation time or PTO as a part of their contract. These hours can be used to maintain an income even when the employee takes time off.
Vacation and Sick Time Violations
Legally, your employer cannot prevent you from using vacation or sick time that you have earned. Despite this, employers often try to ask employees to come in when they are sick or to not take time off. This is not acceptable and violates wage and hour law. Employees have every right to use their time off if they wish, and it is unlawful for employers to prevent them from doing so or to neglect to pay them what they are owed for the time off.