One of the most common – and expensive – problems that employees have is pay disputes over their wages or hours. There are many different ways that an employee can be underpaid. If these problems are not caught early, they can quickly cost an employee thousands of dollars in wages, so it is important to get advice from your own employment lawyer as soon as you notice any sort of problem with your paychecks. Here are some of the most common wage and hour disputes our Bay Area wage and hour attorneys come across:
The law is very clear on what deductions can be made from an employee’s paychecks. Both state and federal taxes must be withheld. Many employees also have voluntary deductions for health insurance premiums, retirement contributions, or other employment benefits. If an employer is making any other deductions that you do not understand or did not agree to, let our attorneys review your case to be sure that your pay is not being wrongfully kept from you.
State law requires workers to be paid overtime wages (1.5 times their usual hourly rate, or “time and a half”) once they have worked forty hours in a week. Employees can be exempt from this requirement if they are paid a salary. Some employers try to get out of paying overtime wages by improperly classifying their employees as “exempt.” Just because your employer claims that you are exempt from overtime wages does not make this true. You may also be missing out on overtime wages you are owed if your employer adjusts your timecard or performs other calculations to try to make it appear as though you worked fewer than forty hours in a week.
State law provides employees with certain meal and rest breaks after working a specified number of hours in a shift. You may choose to skip these breaks, but if you take them, your employer does not have to pay you for that time. Your employer may not discourage you or impede you from taking these breaks. Your employer may also not adjust your time card to show that you took breaks you actually worked through.
One of the most common wage and hour disputes is a simple matter of recordkeeping. If any adjustments are made to your hours before your pay is issued, you must review these records carefully to ensure that they accurately reflect the time you actually worked. Some employers adjust hours down to keep the employee under forty hours of work (and thus avoid paying their workers required overtime). Other employers will routinely round down or “shave time” on their employees’ time cards in order to save small amounts on their payroll. If these practices routinely lead to you being underpaid, they are improper, and you have the right to receive back pay for the time that was taken off.
The experienced employment lawyers in the Bay Area at Olivier & Schreiber LLP have experience handling all types of wage and hour disputes. Call (415) 484-0980 or visit our website to schedule your consultation today.
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