The Federal government first enacted an all-encompassing labor law in 1938 known as The Fair Labor Standards Act. It establishes a federal minimum wage, creates overtime rules, and outlaws employment discrimination based on a worker’s sex. These laws create a minimum level of worker protection that all states are required to follow. However, many states, like California, have chosen to expand on these minimal protections.
California has increased the minimum wage, offers greater overtime pay and has even expanded the categories of people who are protected from discrimination to include religious creed, national origin, color, and sexual orientation. Even with California’s expanded workers’ rights, some employers still take advantage of their employees. All employees have the right to be paid for their work and to be free from discrimination.
Escondido FLSA lawyers help workers to seek remedies for unpaid wages and overtime, as well as to fight back against discrimination in the workplace. Contact an experienced Escondido attorney to begin your claim today.
California Labor Laws
California’s minimum wage exceeds the federal minimum standard. In fact, the required rate of pay will be increasing over the next few years. At publication, all workplaces employing at least 26 employees must compensate them at a rate of no less than $10.50 per hour. For workplaces with 25 or fewer people, this rate is set at $10.00 per hour. There are a few exceptions to this law, such as people working for tips, but the vast majority of workers must be paid at this baseline rate.
California also mandates that overtime be paid at a more liberal rate than other states. The federal minimum states that all hours worked over 40 in a week, or over 8 in a day, be paid at 1.5x the hourly rate. California has chosen to expand on this protection.
The rate of pay increases to double the hourly rate for all hours worked over 12 in one day or for all hours worked over 8 if the person worked all seven days in a week.
Workers may feel intimidated or fear retaliation if they make a wage complaint. California law makes it a crime for employers to seek to intimidate, retaliate against, or otherwise dissuade workers from standing up for their rights. The same regulations make it a crime for employers to retaliate against workers for requesting investigations concerning violations of equal employment laws.
Escondido FLSA attorneys are dedicated to both protecting individuals’ status at their jobs and to obtain any lost wages for hours that they have worked.
People who have had wages illegally withheld have three means to seek compensation. The most direct is to file a civil lawsuit in California’s courts for lost wages. While this method is certainly the most straightforward, it does require that the worker perform all of the work in gathering evidence, subpoenaing witnesses, and arguing the case at trial. Another method involves filing a complaint with the Federal EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission).
This option carries the advantage of using the power of the federal government to investigate the case and may result in the awarding of damages without a trial. One drawback to this option is that the federal government is notorious for moving slowly and it may take a long time for any resolution.
The final option is similar to the Federal choice, but places the State of California in the driver’s seat. The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement is dedicated to investigating and prosecuting complaints filed by employees. This agency can also conduct its own hearings, award damages, and punish employers who are found to be in violation of California’s labor laws.
Contact an Escondido FLSA Attorney Today
Standing up to an employer who has been improperly withholding wages or treating employees in a discriminatory manner can take courage. Many people fear demotion or outright termination if they speak up. Escondido FLSA lawyers are here to protect individuals while pursuing their claims for unlawful employment practices. They shield them against retaliation from their employers while filing the appropriate paperwork with the correct agency to pursue monetary compensation.
There are a number of options that workers can pursue if they have not been properly paid or discriminated against, but every case is unique. Contact today to see how they can work to choose the proper path to hold the employer accountable and get you the fair wages that you have earned.