Wage and hour violations are extremely common, and often times the employer or the employee does not even realize that they are being committed. Wage and hour violations include, but are not limited to, unpaid wages; violations of California minimum wage laws; non-compensation or denial of regular meal and rest breaks; illegal wage deductions and payroll errors; late payment of wages; denial of reimbursement for work-related expenses; failure to provide wage statements; failure to pay wages upon termination; and misclassification.
Among the very many relevant state laws, the primary state laws that protect employees from wage and hour violations in California are the various Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Orders that are codified in the relevant California Labor Code sections, the new Fair Wage Act of 2016, codified in the California Labor Code starting with Section 1182.12, and the Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (as amended) (PAGA), codified in the California Labor Code starting with Section 2698.
If you are an employee, and you can demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence (the legal standard in civil cases) that your employer has committed any of the violations listed above with regards to wage and hour, and that you suffered damages as a result of such violation, you likely have a claim for wage and hour violation under the relevant Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Orders, the new Fair Wage Act of 2016, PAGA, and the relevant California Labor Code sections.
The primary federal law that protects employees from wage and hour violations in California is the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (as amended) (FLSA), codified in Chapter 29 of the United States Constitution starting with Section 201.
The FLSA and the relevant state laws on wage and hour are very similar; however, there are some material differences. For one, under the FLSA, employers are required to pay overtime compensation only to employees who work more than 40 hours in a single workweek. Under the California Labor Code, employers are also required to pay overtime to employees who work more than 8 hours in a single workday, and when employees work on seven consecutive days in the same workweek.
Another very important disparity is with the different minimum wage rates. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour; whereas, in California, the minimum wage is set at $10 per hour.