Minimum Wage Violations
California labor laws state that employers must pay non-exempt employees at least the minimum hourly wage for all hours worked. This protects employees if they’re paid hourly, via salary, piece rate, commission, or with another method of calculation. California employers and employees can agree to any pay rate so long as it is the minimum wage or above.
California Minimum Wage Entitlement
The following individuals are exempt from the California minimum wage requirement:
- Independent contractors
- The parent, spouse, or children of the employer
- Outside salespeople
California Minimum Wage Rate
Effective Jan. 1, 2022, the state minimum wage for employers with 25 or fewer employees will increase to $14 per hour from the current $13. The state minimum wage for employers with 26 or more employees will increase to $15 per hour from the current $14. Employers with fewer than 26 employees will also have to pay their employees an hourly wage of $15 by January 2023.
Minimum Wage Damages
If you’re not paid minimum wage, then you may be entitled to the following damages:
- Attorney’s fees
- Civil penalties under the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA)
- Costs of the lawsuit
- Liquidated damages in an amount equal to the wages unlawfully unpaid
- Statutory Penalties
- The unpaid balance of the full amount of the minimum wage
- Waiting time penalties if the employee has quit, been terminated, discharged, or laid off
Minimum Wage Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations for a minimum wage claim is three years before the date the lawsuit is filed in court. The statute of limitations is extended to four years if there’s an alleged violation of California’s Unfair Competition Law (UCL). This means that the employee can go back three to four years from the date a civil complaint is filed to recover any unpaid minimum wages.
Can you waive the right to the minimum wage in California?
California employees cannot waive their right to minimum wage. Employers are not allowed to permit an employee to work for a wage lower than the legal minimum wage. Employers cannot contract employees for any wage less than the minimum.
Can employees release their right to pay in California?
Many employers offer severance agreements so that employees will not be able to sue. Severance packages provide employees with a certain sum of money in exchange for a release of any and all claims against the employer.
However, California Labor Code section 206.5 provides that any release of claim for unpaid wages shall be void if the wages are not actually paid. This means that employees cannot waive their right to the amount, even when a release is signed.
Minimum Wage Protection
Suppose you have not been paid the legal minimum wage as set forth by the State of California or Los Angeles County. In that case, you may be eligible to recover lost compensation and possibly a punitive award.
The attorneys at Falakassa Law, P.C. are committed to discussing the details of your employment and pay history today to find solutions.
The team of attorneys at Falakassa Law, P.C. are motivated to fight for your rights and prosecute minimum wage and other Labor Code violations. Speak with us right now for a free consultation and get started recuperating all of the wages that you deserve.
Don’t let your employer get away with wage theft! Call us today at 916-680-8486.