“Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people.” Spencer Johnson
Messengers in California
California labor laws are more generous to employees than the laws in many other states. Messengers, couriers, and other drivers who work more than eight hours per day (and more than 40 hours per week) are entitled to one-and-one-half times their normal pay—and if they work over 12 hours per day, California workers must be given double their normal pay.
However, some employers attempt to deny messengers their right to overtime. For instance, companies who employ couriers, transporters, messengers, and other workers in the transportation industry may attempt to pay flat rates for all hourly work due to:
- Unlawful exemption. Workers must be given overtime pay unless they meet certain exemptions under state and federal labor laws. In most cases, exempt workers are highly paid, independent employees, who are paid based on the work performed rather than the number of hours they work. Employers may accidentally or intentionally assume that certain types of employees are exempt from overtime, including shuttle bus drivers, ground carriers, and delivery persons.
- Hours worked. Employers may attempt to suspend or dock pay for the time a worker is not directly engaged in work activities. However, under California law, any time that a worker spends in the control of the employer can be considered “hours worked” and is subject to regular and overtime pay. Drivers, couriers, and messengers can still be considered on the clock for the time that they spend waiting in traffic, waiting for an order to be completed and loaded, or time driving to the wrong address provided by an employer.
- “Off-the-clock” hours. Even if an employer recognizes that workers are entitled to overtime, he may permit or encourage workers to perform certain duties “off-the-clock.” For instance, employers may require workers to begin their shifts earlier than scheduled without clocking in, or clock out before completing end-of-the-day paperwork. Such practices are illegal, and workers cannot be compelled or coerced into doing work activities on unpaid time.
How Can I Tell If I Am Owed Overtime Pay?
It is a good idea to consult with a wage and hour attorney if you believe you are being underpaid by your employer, for many reasons. First, there are both state and federal laws that dictate when employees should receive overtime pay. Second, although it is illegal to retaliate against an employee for filing a wage complaint, an attorney can make sure your concerns are heard without any danger to your career.
Finally, an attorney can investigate your pay records and determine the full amount of back pay that you and your coworkers may be owed. To learn more about your case, download a free copy of our guide to California wage and hour laws, The Ultimate Straight Talk Guide To Getting Your Hard Earned Wages Back.
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