|What kind of cases do you handle?||What if I have no records showing my work or I am unsure about the exact amount I am owed?|
|What if my employer has kept false records showing he paid me properly?||I signed a "paid in full" statement or signed an agreement with my employer that I had settled my dispute with him for my unpaid compensation. Can I still sue my employer for money he has not paid me?|
|Why would I be owed overtime if I was paid a salary or told I was a manager or supervisor?||I was paid by commissions or piecework. Why would I be entitled to overtime? How would my overtime be properly calculated?|
|How would I calculate my unpaid overtime if I was paid by commissions or piecework or by a weekly salary?||My boss takes part of my tips or I am required to share my tips with other workers who do not actually get any tips from customers. Is that allowed?|
|I am working on a government construction project or at a government building for a private company. What are prevailing wages?||I was paid a combination of weekly, daily or hourly pay plus additional bonus or piecework or service charge or commission pay. Why would I be entitled to overtime? How would my overtime be properly calculated?|
|My employer charges customers a service charge which customers pay instead of giving me a tip but the employer does not give all of that service charge money to the workers serving the same customers. Is that allowed?||Can I pursue a claim for unpaid wages even though I am an undocumented alien without the legal right to be employed in the United States?|
|I worked as an independent contractor and did not have any taxes taken out of my pay. Why would I be owed overtime or minimum wages?|
Our office handles all cases involving money owed to workers. The most common cases we handle involve a failure to pay overtime, meaning extra time and one-half pay, for work over 40 hours per week. Our office also handles claims for unpaid minimum wages, unpaid commissions and unpaid prevailing wages (typically union wages owed to workers on government construction projects or who work providing security, maintenance or janitorial services at government buildings). We also handle claims for other forms of unpaid, but earned, compensation. One common situation we handle is when an employer fails to pay for all time worked. Often employers will require employees to work additional unpaid time "off the clock" during their meal breaks, or attending meetings or conducting other activities before or after their regular work shifts. Even though such amounts of time may be small, perhaps as little as 5 or 10 minutes a day, over the course of weeks, months and years, the employee may be owed a substantial amount of money.
Sometimes employers do not keep any records of the hours their employees work or even what they pay them. Employees may often know they are owed unpaid overtime or other money but do not know the exact amount owed for each week of work. The law requires employers to keep exact records of what they pay their employees and the hours worked by the employees. Employers are not allowed to escape their responsibility to pay employees overtime or other wages by failing to keep proper records. An employee can collect their unpaid overtime or other wages by giving the court an approximation of the average amount of time he worked and was not paid. The employee does not need to have exact records or give an exact statement of what he is owed. If the court determines that the employee is telling the truth the employee can win a judgment against the employer based upon the employee's estimate of his working hours and unpaid wages.
Often employers will create false records and try to use them to show they properly paid their employees. Those records, for the purposes of the law, establish nothing. Employees who have been cheated out of pay are not stopped from suing to collect their unpaid wages just because an employer has created false records that the employer claims show the employee was properly paid. Whether those records are correct is an issue that a court, often with a jury, would decide at a trial. If the court determines the employer's records are false, the employee can win his case and collect the wages he is owed, based upon his testimony in court.
Most often the answer is yes, you can still bring a lawsuit. Employers may force employees to sign statements they were paid everything they were owed, or that they have released and settled any dispute over their pay with the employer. Courts often will not enforce those agreements, particularly if the worker is owed unpaid minimum wages or overtime pay. This is because the employer has an unfair amount of power over the worker and can force the worker to sign such statements or agreements.
Just because you are paid a weekly salary, or have the job title of manager or supervisor, does not allow your employer to deny you extra overtime pay. The question is not what you are called or how you are paid but what you actually do on the job. If you are not a manager or supervisor you probably cannot be paid a flat weekly salary and have to be paid by the hour (or by commissions or piece rate pay) and be paid extra overtime wages when you work over 40 hours a week. Management or supervision of other employees under federal law requires you have actual on the job management duties. You cannot be given the title of manager with no real authority or responsibility. If your primary duty is management under federal law an employer may be able to pay you a weekly salary (which must be at least $455 per week) and not pay you overtime. Primary duty under federal law is not necessarily what you spend the majority of your time doing but what is your most important duty. There are other requirements, besides the primary duty requirement, an employer must establish under federal law to not pay overtime to someone it claims is a salaried manager or supervisor. One of those requirements is that the employee often cannot be docked for part of a day's pay if they are absent from work for a portion of the day and the employee may have to be paid a full week's salary even if they do not work their full weekly schedule. Often it is necessary to examine in detail all of the relevant circumstances to determine if a salaried manager or supervisor is entitled to overtime pay. Please call us to confidentially discuss your situation without cost or obligation.
Workers paid on a commission basis or piecework basis are often entitled to extra overtime pay. This means they get extra "time and one half" pay per hour when they work over 40 hours in the week even though they are not normally "paid by the hour." Some workers who are paid commissions or piece rate payments may not have to be paid overtime, but many are entitled to overtime pay. For example, salespersons who sell timeshares are entitled to overtime pay while real estate salespersons selling homes often are not entitled to overtime pay. Workers who are paid by the piece or job, or an “hourly” amount plus a weekly “bonus” for performing cable television or other sorts of construction work such as carpet installation, are entitled to overtime pay. Such workers' overtime rate would be based upon their regular hourly rate for the week. The regular hourly rate is determined by dividing all of the hours worked during the week into the total amount paid for the week. The workers is entitled to overtime, meaning time and one-half that regular rate, for all hours worked over 40 in the week. By way of a simple example, say you worked 50 hours in the week and earned $1000 in commissions or piecework. Your regular hourly rate is $20 an hour ($1000 divided by 50). You are owed one-half of that amount ($10) for every hour you worked over 40 hours, or $100 in unpaid overtime for the week. Because the rules are not the same for all workers, if you were paid commissions or piecework please contact our office to confidentially discuss your situation without cost or obligation.
The general formula for figuring your overtime in this situation involves first determining how much you were originally paid for the week and how many hours you worked for the week. That amount of total weekly earning is then divided by the weekly hours to give you a regular hourly rate. You are owed overtime at one-half that regular hourly rate for every hour over 40 you worked during the week. By way of a simple example, say you worked 50 hours in the week and earned $1000 in commissions or piecework or salary. Your regular hourly rate is $20 an hour ($1000 divided by 50). You are owed one-half of that amount ($10) for every hour you worked over 40 hours, or $100 in unpaid overtime for the week. In California in certain instances the total weekly earnings are divided by 40 to determine the regular hourly rate and you receive 1.5 times that rate for each hour worked over 40 for the week. Under some circumstances California requires double pay for overtime.
Under the laws of many states, and sometimes under the federal minimum wage law as well, this is not allowed. Employees can also, under some circumstances, be required to pool their tips with other employees who are receiving tips. Our office represents employees in tip taking or tip pooling disputes. Please contact us to confidentially discuss any concerns you have with how your tips are being taken or handled.
Prevailing wages are set by various government agencies for government construction projects or when other services are provided at government buildings. Prevailing wages are typically at the same level as the one set by the construction trade or service employee痴 union. For example, in some areas of the country the prevailing wage for construction laborers or janitors may be $20 or $25 an hour or higher even though many non-union construction laborers and janitors are paid substantially less than that amount. Contractors on prevailing wage jobs will sometimes pay workers far below the required prevailing wage amount. When this happens the worker is often entitled to sue in court to collect the difference between the wage he was paid and the required prevailing wage rate.
Workers paid a combination of hourly, daily, or weekly pay and other pay are often entitled to overtime pay. For these workers a large problem is that employers will often fail to pay the proper overtime rate. For example, a worker at a call center who books appointments for salespersons may receive $10 an hour plus an additional $20 commission for each customer who shows up for their booked appointment. The employer cannot pay overtime based just on the $10 an hour wage. When calculating the overtime wage it must also include all of the commissions it paid the worker. For example, if the worker worked 50 hours, and booked 25 appointments for $20 each, their hourly rate for overtime calculation purposes would be $20 an hour, not $10 an hour. This is because their total hours (50) are divided into the total "regular rate" compensation paid to the worker ($500 for 50 hours at $10 an hour plus $500 for 25 appointments at $20 each, or 1000 divided by 50 = $20 an hour). For this worker the overtime rate is not time and one half $10 an hour but time and one half $20 an hour, meaning they should be paid $30, not $15, for each overtime hour. Because the rules are not the same for all workers paid under a combination of ways, please contact our office to confidentially discuss your situation without cost or obligation.
Typically no, this is not allowed. When an employer imposes a service charge, for example at a banquet or catered function, the employer is usually required to give all of the service charge money collected to the employees actually serving the customers at the function, not the managers or owners. Our office has represented employees with disputes over the payment of service charges. Please contact us to confidentially, and without cost, discuss any concerns you have about service charge issues in your workplace.
The fact you are undocumented does not prevent you from bringing a lawsuit for the payment of the money you have earned from your work, including unpaid minimum wages or overtime pay. Courts will not allow an employer to avoid paying you, once you have already performed the work, because you are undocumented. Our office has handled many claims for undocumented aliens.
To be properly treated as an "independent contractor" you must truly be in business for yourself. Often employers will hire workers as "1099 employees" or treat them as "independent contractors." Employers who do that are breaking the law. If you are working in a way that "feels like a job" you are probably an employee even though you are being paid without any taxes taken out of your check. For example, if you are expected to work a set schedule, continually perform the same work, and follow detailed orders and have no real control over how you do your work, you may really be an employee. Construction and janitorial workers are often treated as independent contractors but perform the same work (for example painting houses or cleaning the same store every night), under the same regular schedule, for the same employer, for the same fixed pay every week. Workers in these situations may well be employees under the law and be entitled to minimum wage pay and overtime pay. If you are being treated as an independent contractor and denied overtime pay or minimum wages please contact our office to confidentially discuss your situation without cost or obligation.