Wage And Hour

Many businesses in California try to avoid paying their employees correctly under California law. There are many ways that an employer often improperly compensates an employee. For example, the employer may wrongfully classify an employee as “exempt” from overtime laws.

Kumin Sommers LLP represents individuals in court and before the Labor Commissioner. Kumin Sommers LLP also represents groups of employees who have had their rights violated in class action litigation.

Did your boss pay you correctly?

Overtime Exemptions: Many employers attempt to classify their employees as “exempt” from overtime laws by labeling them “managers” or “administrators.” However, if an employee labeled a “manager” spends most of his or her time working alongside the other employees doing the same job, then the employer must pay overtime.

There are three major categories of exemptions from overtime laws: the administrative, executive, and professional exemptions. For an employee to be qualified for one of these exemptions, the employee must spend more than 50% of working hours performing actual administrative, managerial, or professional duties. Other requirements apply.

Meal and Rest Breaks: In a typical 8 hour shift, California companies must permit their employees to take a half hour lunch break and two 10-minute rest breaks. If an employer fails to do so, the employee must be paid an hour of pay. California employees can sue for missed meal and rest breaks for meal and rest periods missed for a period of up to three years.

Full pay when you leave your job: Often, when employees quit or are fired, the employer does not pay those employees their full last paycheck, with accrued vacation and personal time off. Under California law, employers who willfully refuse to pay their employees upon termination may be penalized in an amount equal to 30 days wages. This penalty is known as a "wait time" penalty, because the employee had to wait to be paid.

Commissions: Often, sales agents leaving their jobs don’t get the paid their full commissions after they leave. However, California law dictates that the person who “shakes the tree” gets to keep “the fruit.”

Business expenses: Sometimes employers require their employees to shoulder the costs of running the business. That's unlawful in California. For example, if a restaurant customer eats and then leaves without paying for the meal, California law recognizes that as a cost of doing business, the employer may not pass that amount onto the waiter. Most business expenses cannot be passed onto the employee. Even if an employee breaks the employer’s equipment, the employer cannot “ding” the employee’s paycheck for repair costs.