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California Worker Misclassification Can Mean Huge Pay Losses for Employees

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Working Long Hours

You were looking forward to receiving your paycheck after a long week. It was grueling to cover extra shifts, but the overtime pay would make it all worthwhile.... except, there seems to be some kind of mistake. Your check contains the extra hours worked, but at your normal rate of pay—and your employer insists that the math is correct. You are told you are not eligible for overtime pay, and expected to leave it at that. What should you do?

3 Employer Mistakes That Can Cost Employees Thousands of Dollars

Unfortunately, these stories are all too common among California workers. Employers will often attempt to cut costs by unfairly reducing employee wages, and in many cases, workers do not question the amount they receive in their paychecks. Here are three Open Filing Cabinet With a Contractor File Tabcommon ways employers may steal wages from workers:

  • Deliberate misclassification. One of the easiest ways to avoid paying workers fair wages is to classify them as independent contractors. While a paid employee is owed certain benefits, such as health care, minimum wage, workers' compensation, unemployment insurance, and overtime pay, independent contractors are not legally guaranteed any of these protections. In addition, employers can keep costs low by classifying workers as independent contractors, since they do not have to pay payroll taxes or even provide meal and rest breaks.
  • Overtime miscalculation. Most California employees are entitled to overtime pay of 1.5 times their normal hourly rate for any hours worked over eight hours per day, and should be paid 2 times their hourly rate for hours in excess of twelve hours per day. Workers who are paid by piece rate (the number of jobs they complete in a day) are still entitled to overtime pay if their hours exceed 8 per day or 40 per week. It is illegal for an employer to refuse overtime pay, classify a qualified employee as overtime exempt, offer incentives in lieu of overtime pay, or give an employee time off on a following day or week instead of paying overtime.
  • Failure to pay back pay. Even if an employee has been misclassified and the employer fixes the problem, the employer may only begin to pay workers their fair wages from that point on—neglecting to reimburse employees for the money they were denied in the past.

What Should I Do If I Think I Have Been Misclassified?

Workers who have been misclassified should find out if they are being cheated out of their wages.  I recommend that you consult with the best, honest wage and hour lawyer that you can find.

For example, this happens all the time to drivers. I see it at the ports, for delivery companies and for other types of drivers.

Disclaimer: Please understand these discussions and/or examples are not legal advice. All legal situations are different. This testimonial, endorsement and/or discussion does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter, your particular case/ situation and/or this particular case/ situation. Thanks, Bill Turley

 

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