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Find Answers to Your Unpaid Wages Questions

Find Answers to Your Unpaid Wages Questions. If you have more questions, contact us.

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  • What is a “good-faith” dispute in a wage and hour case?

    One of the issues that arise when your employer doesn't pay you the wages you are owed is whether or not the non-payment of wages was in "good-faith."  Make no mistake about it - this "good-faith dispute doesn't keep you from being paid the wages you are owed under the law. You are still entitled to your wages. 

    However, if the employer can prove that not paying you certain wages was based upon a "good-faith" defense - then you may not be entitled to these wages? Specifically we are talking about waiting time penalties and liquidated damages. I explain what these are in this article and how it may affect the wages that you may be owed. 

    In this article, I answer these questions and/or address the following issues:

    When Can an Employer Claim a Good Faith Dispute?

    Waiting Time Penalties:

    A “good faith” dispute removes an employer’s liability to pay waiting time penalties to an employee.

    Liquidated Damages:

    What is an unpaid wages analysis?

    When Can an Employer Claim a Good Faith Dispute?

    The good news is that, even by making a good-faith defense, the employer agrees that the employee’s claim is valid. However, the defense allows an employer to state the reason why the wages were not paid on time—and if the reason is valid, the employer can get out of paying some or all of the waiting time penalties.

    Depending on which good faith dispute is made, an employer may be able to escape liability for:

    Happy clients with their settlement checks from a California unpaid wages case.
    What makes this all worthwhile - when employees receive their checks for unpaid wages!

    Waiting Time Penalties:

    When your employer pays you late when you terminate your employment - you are entitled to waiting time penalties. Here is a great article on California waiting time penalties

    By law, employers are required to pay all outstanding wages owed to a worker within 72 hours of the employee’s last shift. If you give notice that you are quitting or you are fired, then your employer must pay all of your wages on your last day. 

    If this is not done, the employee can collect waiting time, which is an additional day of pay at the employee’s regular rate for each day the worker is kept waiting for his or her final wages.

    A “good faith” dispute removes an employer’s liability to pay waiting time penalties to an employee.

    However, the worker is not eligible for waiting time penalties in California if the employer shows that there was a good reason the wages were not paid.

    Let's look a little closer. 

    When the law is uncertain, than the employer may have a good faith dispute. 

    Liquidated Damages:

    If your employer fails to pay you at least minimum wages for all hours that you work, then you are entitled to liquidated damages. 

    Under some circumstances, an employer can admit that the company owes you back pay while also reducing the number of liquidated damages you are owed. Liquidated damages are an additional amount equal to the amount of back pay owed, and are intended to punish the employer for wrongdoing. If the employer had reason to believe that he or she was doing the right thing—for example, listening to the advice of a lawyer who gave misinformation—then the company may not be liable for liquidated damages.

    But know this, the company has the burden of proving that not paying you wages for all time you worked was in "good-faith." While this is possible, in the real world, it's very difficult. 

     

    Bill Turley regularly is invited to testify before the California State Senate and California Assembly 

    What is an unpaid wages analysis? 


    The best way for California workers to find out how much unpaid wages you're owed is by getting a confidential, no-obligation, free unpaid wages analysis. For more information on how you can claim your free unpaid wages analysis check this out. 

    What you are going to find is that whenever you suspect that you aren't getting paid all the wages that you are owed under California wage laws, then you are probably owed a lot more wages and/or penalties than you realize.  I suggest that you don't leave your hard earned money in the company's wallet.  These are your wages and you need to take action to recover the hard earned wages that you are owed. 

    San Diego Attorney Journal called Bill Turley - California's Leading Wage and Hour Class Action Lawyer 


    Bill Turley on the cover of San Diego Attorney Journal magazine.


    Call us at 619-304-1000  - If you call after regular business hours, when you leave a message, be sure to repeat your name and telephone number twice, so we get it correctly. And be sure to indicate whether it's okay if we respond by text.

    Text us at 858-281-8008 - Be sure and put "new wage case" in your text. 

    Or leave us a message on this web page

     

    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.

  • How can I prove that my employer owes me unpaid wages?

    What knowledge, proof and/or evidence do I need for my California wage case?

    In order to get compensation for a wage and hour violation, you need two things: you must know how state and/or federal wage and hour laws apply to you, and you must be able to prove how much you have worked, how much you have been paid and how much you are owed in unpaid wages. 

    What you're going to find is this isn't as crazy as it might first appear. The hardest part is knowing what to look for. That is, how employer's regularly try and get away with not paying workers all of the wages they are owed. 

    This is where a good, honest California wage lawyer can really help. 

    In this article, I discuss the knowledge, proof and/or evidence that is needed in order to prevail in your unpaid wages case. We answer the following questions and address the following issues: 

    How do I gather evidence for a wage and hour claim?

    What if I don't have my paycheck stubs - can I still bring an unpaid wages lawsuit in California?

    Can I get my wages records from my employer?

    Can I win my wage case if I don't have detailed records of the hours that I worked?

    Does my employer have a duty to keep accurate time records?

    Timekeeping records (your punch records)

    California wage law helps you prove your unpaid wages case when your employer does not have accurate time records

    All you need is your testimony that you worked and you weren’t paid - then your employer must to come forward with evidence of the precise amount of work you performed

    How can I prove that my supervisor "adjusted my time records," "took time away from me," "inserted a meal period" and/or "deducted time from my paycheck?"  .... Electronic timekeeping records, time shaving, and time record adjustments

    Get a free, no obligation unpaid wages analysis

    Straight - forward, No B.S.

    Not all lawyers are alike

    My best advice - claim your free unpaid wages analysis

    How do I gather evidence for a wage and hour claim?

    In order to start you wage and hour lawsuit you don't always need "concrete proof" that your employer owes you wages that you have not received. For example, we have started and won huge wage and hour cases with only what our client was telling us. 

    Now, don't get me wrong. In order to win your wage and hour lawsuit, you are going to need proof. 

    Usually, this can be done in the following ways:

    Paycheck stubs 

    This is the first place to start. In order to know if you've been paid all of the wages you're owed you should first check what you have been paid for.

     

    What if I don't have my paycheck stubs - can I still bring an unpaid wages lawsuit in California? 

    Yes. If you don't have your pay stubs, you can still bring and win a wages case in California. 

    Under California law, all employers are required by both Labor Code Section 226 and the Wage Orders to keep paycheck stubs. So, if you don't have your pay stubs, you can easily get them.

    Can I get my wages records from my employer? 

    Yes. Under California law, your employer has the duty to provide you with a copy of your personnel file and your wage records. 

    In this article, I discuss how you can get your personnel file and wage records from your employer/ ex-employer based upon California law

     

    Can I win my wage case if I don't have detailed records of the hours that I worked? 

    You don't need to keep detailed records of the hours you work.  

    If possible, you shouldn’t rely on just your pay stub to tell you when and where you worked. Whenever possible you should  keep your own schedule in a separate calendar that can be used to double-check your hours against your employer’s records. There are apps for phones that will keep track of the hours that your work. 

    If you haven't done this - that's okay. We regularly win unpaid wages cases where our client didn't keep track of the hours that they worked. 

    What you're looking for here is to see if your employer has paid you for all of the time that you worked.  A lot of company's will shave time. That is, not count a few minutes here and a few minutes here. 

    Another thing company's will do is deduct for meal periods when you're not really relieved of all duties. Which is illegal under California law. 

     

    Does my employer have a duty to keep accurate time records?

    Under California law, your employer has the duty to keep accurate time records. This includes all clock in ann clock out records when you start and stop your shift. And your employer must keep records of when you take your meal periods. All of the California Wage Orders require your employer to keep this information. California Wage Orders, Section 7(A).

    Timekeeping records (your punch records) 

    The California Wage Orders require employers to keep accurate timekeeping records. When employers fail to keep accurate timekeeping records the courts are very understanding and will allow you to prove the time that you work with your testimony and estimates.  This is because when the company fails to meet their duty to maintain accurate timekeeping records that falls on the company - not you. 

    California wage law helps you prove your unpaid wages case when your employer does not have accurate time records

    Where the employer has failed to keep records required by statute,  the consequences for such failure fall on the employer, not you, the employee. Hernandez v. Mendoza, 199 Cal. App. 3d 721, 727 (1988).

    “In such a situation, imprecise evidence by the employee can provide a sufficient basis for damages.”  Hernandez v. Mendoza, 199 Cal. App. 3d 721, 727 (1988).

    All you need is your testimony that you worked and you weren’t paid - then your employer must to come forward with evidence of the precise amount of work you performed

    “An employee has carried out his burden if he proves that he has in fact performed work for which he was improperly compensated and if he produces sufficient evidence to show the amount and extent of that work as a matter of just and reasonable inference. The burden then shifts to the employer to come forward with evidence of the precise amount of work performed or with evidence to negative the reasonableness of the inference to be drawn from the employee's evidence. If the employer fails to produce such evidence, the court may then award damages to the employee, even though the result be only approximate.’” (Ibid., citing Anderson v. Mt. Clemens Pottery Co. (1945) 328 U.S. 680, 687–688 [90 L.Ed. 1515, 66 S. Ct. 1187].);  Furry v. East Bay Publishing, LLC, 30 Cal. App. 5th 1072, 1079 (2018).

     

    How can I prove that my supervisor "adjusted my time records," "took time away from me," "inserted a meal period" and/or "deducted time from my paycheck?"  .... Electronic timekeeping records, time shaving, and time record adjustments 

    When your supervisor "adjusts" the time that you work - such as inserting a meal period when you didn't take one or "deducting" 15 minutes here or a half-hour there - - there are almost always electronic records of the time changes. That's the beauty behind most all timekeeping programs that are used today.  There are always records of when their are "adjustments," or "meal period inserts," or "time-shaving" or the like. 

    When your supervisor alters your timekeeping records then there is an electronic trail of these changes being made. Most programs also make a record of who makes the changes, when the changes are made and some require an explanation of why the time-keeping changes were made. 

    If you suspect that your supervisor or the company is altering your time records - then you need to contact the best, honest wage lawyer that that you can find.  This is not only illegal - it is time theft or payroll theft. 

    For more on Time Shaving check out this article that explains how employers may be stealing wages by deducting time from your time sheets..

     

    Check your classification:

    Some employees are ineligible for overtime based on the income they earn or the tasks they perform. If your employer has classified you as exempt when you are not, you could be owed back pay dating all the way back to your hire date.

    Check additional pay categories:

    Employers are required to pay workers for any unused vacation or paid time off after a worker leaves employment, so always make sure your leave balances have been accounted for.

    Take note of dates:

    Not only are employees entitled to full and accurate pay, they have a right to receive these payments within a reasonable amount of time. Check your calendar closely to see if you could be owed interest on your unpaid wages as well as an additional waiting time penalty.

    After you have collected this evidence, you should speak with an attorney to determine if you have a valid wage and hour claim. Under California law, you can collect unpaid overtime for up to three years prior to the date you file your claim, so it is vital that you act quickly. Please feel free to use our website to learn how to get proper compensation under California pay laws.

    Not getting paid meal period and rest period premiums 

    Under California law, you're entitled to getting paid an hour's pay when you're not provided a legal meal period or rest break. Click here for an in depth article on California's meal break laws and California's rest break laws. 

     

    Get a free, no obligation unpaid wages analysis 

    If this sounds like it's a lot of work for you, then click here to find out more on how to get a free, no obligation unpaid wages analysis. 

     

     

    Why Bill is asked to testify concerning wage law legislation at the California State Senate and the California Assembly

     

    Bill Turley is regularly asked to testify before the California State Senate and the California Assembly concerning potential wage legislation. The California legislature is how wage laws are made.

    Usually when Bill testifies before the California State Senate on wage and hour issues, Bill is the only class action lawyer invited to testify at the hearing.


    Bill testifies regularly before the California State Assembly and California State Senate on the new PAGA bill (read: wage theft legislation).


    Straight - forward, No B.S.

    If you follow me at all, you’ll know that I’m all about telling like it is. Believe it or not, I’m know for being straight up. It’s why I’m the go-to guy in Sacramento on wage and hour law. I’m the wage and hour class action lawyer that is regularly asked to testify before the California State Senate and the California State Assembly on wage legislation.  The reason I’m always asked to testify is that I’m going to give it to them straight. No B.S.
     
    I tell people what they need to hear - not what they want to hear. So here I go again. This isn’t going to be popular.  But here is the reason why I offer workers a confidential, free, no obligation unpaid wages analysis.
     
    The truth is that there are only a handful of wage class action lawyers in California that can properly analyze an unpaid wages case. I’m not saying this to brag, I’m just telling you like it is.   
     
    There are a lot of bad lawyers out there that call themselves experts in unpaid wage law
     
    The problem for you is that there are dozens of dozens of lawyers that will rank high on your Google search that just aren’t very good lawyers. In fact, most of them are not good lawyers. How do I know this? Because I see them screw up cases all the time.
     
    Happy clients with their settlement checks from a California unpaid wages case.
    It feels really good when you get your check for unpaid wages owed to you!
     

    Not all lawyers are alike

    I’ve been blessed in a few respects.  I’ve been in a firm that is one of the top five unpaid wages class action firms in California.
     
    I’ve had the opportunity to be a student of the law. When the other lawyers I’ve worked with have been handling all these unpaid wages class action cases, I’ve been blessed to be allowed to simply study the law. To have the time to think about new strategies, new theories, new ways to enforce California’s wage and hour laws. take what I’ve learned in my studying and have applied it to our cases.
     
    This where I’m coming from here. You can gather all the evidence you want - and that is very helpful, don’t get me wrong. But unless you’ve been studying California wage law for years, you’re just not going to get it. You’re not going to “spot all the issues,” so to speak.
     
    And the problem you also face is that most lawyers that you are thinking about hiring - they aren’t going to get it also. I know this because I see other lawyers screw these cases up all the time. I know this isn’t popular to say - but it’s the truth. They may have fancy websites, they might talk a good game - - but at the end of the day - they just aren’t that good and many are down-right bad. Even terrible. 

    My best advice - claim your free unpaid wages analysis

    So my best advice to you is that if you suspect that you haven’t been paid all the wages that you are owed under California law, that you avail yourself of our confidential, free, no obligation unpaid wages analysis.
     
    I’m not saying you have to hire my or you will lose your case. I’m just saying that there are only a handful of lawyers that I would trust to win your unpaid wages case in California.
     
    So, after we have conducted your confidential, free, no obligation unpaid wages analysis - - and you don’t want me to help you, I’ll give you the names of a handful of other wage and hour class action lawyers that I trust will do a great job for you and your co-employees.
     

    Call us at 619-304-1000   

    Text us at 858-281-8008 

    Or leave us a message on this web page

    This article isn't legal advice
     
    These discussions and/or examples are not legal advice. All legal situations are different. These testimonials, endorsements, photos and/or discussions do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter, your particular case/ situation. Every case is different. There are any number of reasons why class actions are not certified, not won and/or PAGA actions are not successful.
     
    Just because we have gotten great results in so many other unpaid wage cases, doesn't guarantee in particular result in other cases. Including, your wage case. Every case is different. In other words, your mileage may vary.

  • Can a California employer fire a worker who is out on a leave of absence?

    Not to give you a lawyer like answer, but, it depends.  

     
    The short answer is “Yes,” if your employer has less than fifty (50) employees. That is, your employer can fire you if you take a leave of absence. Assuming, that is the reason why you were fired.
     
    If this is you, I suggest you keep reading to see what you other legal options are to get money compensation from your employer.
     
    If your employer has more than 50 employees than you may be protected if you take a leave of absence and you are an eligible employee under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) or the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).  I explain these in more depth in this article.
     

    In this article, I answer these questions and/or address the following issues:

    What if I was fired from work in California - what are my other legal options for getting money compensation from my employer?

    California Family Rights Act (CFRA)

    CFRA Leave Requirements

    Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL)

    Family Temporary Disability Insurance (FTDI) or “Paid Family Leave”

    Understanding the Protections of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

    Are you owed a lot of money in unpaid wages? Find out with a no obligation, free, confidential unpaid wages audit

    What if I was fired from work in California - what are my other legal options for getting money compensation from my employer?

     
    Put another way, all the time I have folks contact our office with one employment law problem and we do a legal analysis and figure out that they have significant (read: they may be entitled to a lot of money compensation) other employment law claims.
     
    The last thing you want to do is for you to leave your hard earned money on the table, so to speak, when you’ve been fired from your job is California.
     
    So, I suggest that if this is you - that is, you have been fired from your job in California, you check out this article on “What are my legal rights to compensation if I have been fired from my job in California.”


    California Family Rights Act (CFRA)

     
    California Family Rights Act (CFRA) covers you if your employer does business in California and employs 50 or more part time or full-time employees.
     

    CFRA Leave Requirements 

    The following are the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) requirements:
     
    • In order to be eligible for CFRA leave, you must be an employee with more than 12 months of service with your employer and you must have worked at least 1,250 hours for your employer in the 12-month period before the leave begins.
     
    If you are an eligible employee:
     
    • You may take an unpaid leave to bond with an adopted or foster child or to bond with a newborn.
     
    •  You may take unpaid leave to care for a parent, spouse, or child with a serious health condition.
     
    •  You may take unpaid leave for your own serious health condition.
     
    • If you are a full-time employee, you may take leave of up to 12 work weeks in a 12-month period.
     
    • If you are a part-time employee, you may take leave on a proportional basis.
     
    • The leave does not need to be taken in one continuous period of time.
     
    Other requirements:
     
    • Your employer may require a 30-day advance notice of the need for a CFRA qualifying leave. When this is not possible due to the unexpected nature of the leave, notice should be given as soon as practicable.
     
    • Your notice can be written or verbal and should include the timing and the anticipated duration of the leave. However, I suggest that you try and document your request in writing, so you can document that the request was made and when it was made.
     
    As a practical matter, you can call or tell your supervisor in person and send them a confirming email. You can send a copy to yourself to have “proof.”
     
    • Your employer must respond to your leave request within 10 calendar days.
     
    If a response is not received in 10 days, you might think about sending them a friendly email as a follow up.
     
    As with most things in life, as my Mom said, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. As a practical matter, you really don’t want a CFRA lawsuit, you want to be able to take your legally mandated leave and come back to work. And if you do end up having to file a CFRA lawsuit, you want to be reasonable because this will all be evidence in your case.
     
    • Your employer may require written communication from the health-care provider of the child, parent, spouse, or employee with a serious health condition stating the reasons for the leave and the probable duration of the condition.
     

    Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL)

     
    If you are eligible for leave under the CFRA, you may also be entitled for leave under Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL). Employers of five or more persons have additional obligations under the PDL.


    Family Temporary Disability Insurance (FTDI) or “Paid Family Leave”

     
    Employees on CFRA leave of absence may also be eligible for six weeks of paid leave under FTDI, a program administered by the California Employment Development Department (EDD).
     
    PFL does not provide job protection, only monetary benefits; however, your job may be protected through other federal or state laws such as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or the California Family Rights Act (CFRA).

    Happy clients with their settlement checks from a California unpaid wages case.
    It feels really good when you get your check for unpaid wages owed to you!

     

    Understanding the Protections of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

    Employees may believe that their jobs are protected under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). While this law provides employees with twelve weeks of unpaid leave each year to cope with unforeseen illness or family problems, it does not apply to all workplaces. Employees can only enjoy the protections of the FMLA if they:

    • Work at a company that has 50 or more employees
    • Have worked for the company for at least one year
    • Have completed at least 1,250 hours of work for the employer in the required year of employment
    • Do not exceed twelve weeks of absences

    The FMLA states that employees cannot be fired for taking their guaranteed weeks of medical leave, and they cannot be retaliated against for doing so. When employees return from FMLA leave, their employers are required to employ them in their former positions or in a job that is substantially similar. If the employee is on leave due to a medical disability, an employer cannot terminate the employee due to the protections of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Not only is it illegal to discriminate against an employee with a disability, an employer must attempt to make reasonable accommodations that will allow the employee to do his or her job.

    Employers can terminate an employee for reasons unrelated to leave and can do so whether the employee is on leave or not. For example, if an employee goes over the allotted twelve weeks, even by one day, the employer could terminate him or her for excessive absences. The important thing to remember is that while employers may terminate an employee while on protected leave, the employer must provide a legitimate reason for termination that is unrelated to the leave. 

     

    Bill Turley is California's leading employment law lawyer - that is why he is frequently asked to testify before the California State Senate and California State Assembly on California employment law

    Bill Turley testifying at the California Senate


    Are you owed a lot of money in unpaid wages? 

    Find out with a no obligation, free, confidential unpaid wages audit


    Basically, an unpaid wages audit will help you determine whether you have been paid all of the wages that you are entitled to under California law.  Whether it is an ex-employer that you have worked for in the last four years or a current employer, I suggest that you have an unpaid wages audit. 


    Based upon what I see every day by talking to workers in California that contact our office, many folks have no idea how their employer is not paying them the wages they are owed under California.


    Your first step is contacting our office. First we will talk with you in order to get an initial determination of whether you are owed unpaid wages. This is a no obligation, and free.


    If we go forward with the unpaid wages audit, you will never have to pay us. Ever.

    It is up to you how you want to proceed after we explain to you the results. If we agree to accept your case, all of our fees will be approved by the court and paid directly by the company.

     

    Call us at 619-304-1000  - If you call after regular business hours, when you leave a message, be sure to repeat your name and telephone number twice, so we get it correctly. And be sure to indicate whether it's okay if we respond by text.

    Text us at 858-281-8008 - Be sure and put "new wage case" in your text. 

    Or leave us a message on this web page

     

    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. In other words, you outcome may vary. Just because we have had great results in so many employment law cases, doesn't guarantee any particular result with your case. Every case is different. 

  • What are the rules for “reporting time pay” in California?

    Any Time an Employee is Required to Show Up to Work Should Be Considered Paid Time

    Under California Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC) Orders, employers must pay employees for unworked (but regularly scheduled) time, also known as reporting time. Simply put, any time an employee is required to show up to work should be considered paid time, even if he is not given a sufficient amount of work to cover all hours.

    Under the rules of reporting-time pay in California, if an employee is required to report to work, but performs less than half of his or her usual work hours, the employee must be paid for at least half of the scheduled day’s work at his or her normal pay rate. In addition, employees cannot be paid for less than two hours on a day of reporting, regardless of the time worked.

    In this article, our California wage and hour lawyers answer the following questions (and more):

    What are the rules for “reporting time pay” in California?
     
    What is California reporting time pay or show up pay?
     
    What is in the California Wage Orders on reporting time pay?
     
    What if I have to call into work by telephone to see if I have to work that day? 
     
    Am I entitled to be paid if I have to call into work to see if I actually work that day?
     
    What if I have to log on to the computer or check by my cell phone to see if I have to work... Am I entitled to reporting time pay? 
     
    Are there exceptions to California reporting time laws?
     

    What is California reporting time pay or show up pay?

    Under California law, if you are required to report for work and you don't actually work, but are no provided at least half of your usual hours, then you are owed reporting time pay. You must be paid the greater of half of your usual scheduled day (up to 4 hours) or 2 hours at your regular rate of pay. 

    What is in the California Wage Orders on reporting time pay? (It's all in the California Wage Orders)

    Reporting Time Pay.  Section 5 of each of the Orders provides:
     
    (A)   Each workday an employee is required to report for work and does report, but is not put to work or is furnished less than half said employee’s usual or scheduled day’s work, the employee shall be paid for half the usual or scheduled day’s work, but in no event for less than two (2) hours nor more than four (4) hours, at the employee’s regular rate of pay, which shall not be less than the minimum wage.
     
    (B)   If an employee is required to report for work a second time on any one workday and is furnished less than two (2) hours of work on the second reporting, said employee shall be paid for two (2) hours at the employee’s regular rate of pay, which shall not be less than the minimum wage.
     
    (C)   The foregoing reporting time pay provisions are not applicable when: (1)   Operations cannot commence or continue due to threats to employees or property; or when recommended by civil authorities; or (2)   Public utilities fail to supply electricity, water, or gas, or there is a failure in the public           utilities, or sewer system; or (3)   The interruption of work is caused by an Act of God or other cause not within the employer’s control (D)   This section shall not apply to an employee on paid standby who is called to perform assigned work at a time other than the employee’s scheduled reporting time.

     

    Telephonic report:  What if I have to call into work by telephone to see if I have to work that day? 

    One of the questions I get asked is, Am I entitled to be paid if I have to call into work to see if I actually work that day?

    This is called telephonic reporting. That is, employers will make employees call into work and see if they work a shift that day. If your employer makes you do this and you are not required to work, then you are owed California reporting time pay for having to call into work. Ward v. Tilly's, Inc. (2019) 31 Cal.App.5th 1167, 1178. 

    Meaning, you are owed two to four's pay, every time that this happens. 

    What if I have to log on to the computer or check by my cell phone to see if I have to work... Am I entitled to reporting time pay? 

    Yes. As the court in the Tilly's case stated: 

    The reporting time pay requirement operates as follows. If an employer directs employees to present themselves for work by physically appearing at the workplace at the shift's start, then the reporting time requirement is triggered by the employee's appearance at the jobsite. But if the employer directs employees to present themselves for work by logging on to a computer remotely, or by appearing at a client's jobsite, or by setting out on a trucking route, then the employee “reports for work” by doing those things. And if, as plaintiff alleges in this case, the employer directs employees to present themselves for work by telephoning the store two hours prior to the start of a shift, then the reporting time requirement is triggered by the telephonic contact.
    Ward v. Tilly's, Inc. (2019) 31 Cal.App.5th 1167, 1185. (Emphasis added). 

    Clients smiling with their settlement checks from a California unpaid wages case.
    It feels really good when you get your check for unpaid wages owed to you!

    Are there exceptions to California reporting time laws?

    However, employers are not required to compensate employees for reporting time under the following exceptions:

    • If work operations are interrupted by threats to employees or property.
    • If civil authorities recommend that work be suspended.
    • If public utility services are interrupted, shutting off electricity, water, gas, or sewer service in the workplace.
    • When work is interrupted due to an act of God, such an earthquake or other natural disasters.
    • If the employee has reported but is not fit to work.
    • If the employee reported to work later than his scheduled time and was fired or sent home as a disciplinary action.
    • If the employee is compensated on paid standby status.
    • If the employee’s regularly scheduled shift is less than two hours.

     

     

    Not getting paid wages that you are owed is much more common than most people realize (and if you have concerns about not getting reporting time pay, chances are, the company owes you unpaid wages for other things)

    I don't need to read all of the recent studies that talk about how companies aren't paying all of the wages that they owed to employees in order to know that it's true. Based upon what I see, is that most folks have no idea how much they are getting ripped off by the company each paycheck. 

    My take is that if you suspect or know that your current or former employer hasn't paid you for reporting time pay, then this is probably the the tip of the iceberg , so to speak. Meaning, you are probably owed a lot more in wages (read: money) than you realize.

    My suggestion is that you have an unpaid wages analysis done in order for you to find how much money you're owed

    It's quick, painless and free and the upside is that you may find out you're owed a lot of money.  

     

     

     

     

     

    Bill Turley on the cover of San Diego Attorney Journal magazine.

     

    Why is Bill Turley asked to testify on wage legislation before the

    California State Senate and California Assembly? 

    Reporting time pay laws in California - Bill Turley

    Because Bill is known as a No B.S. straight-shooter lawyer

    Believe it or not, Bill is known for being a no B.S. straight-up lawyer. Besides being known as one of the leading experts on this area of the law in California, one of the reasons why Bill is asked to testify at legislature hearings is because he is known for being straight-forward and blunt. He is known for being no B.S., with no lawyer-talk, no double-talk. 

     

    Call us at 619-304-1000  - If you call after regular business hours, when you leave a message, be sure to repeat your name and telephone number twice, so we get it correctly. And be sure to indicate whether it's okay if we respond by text.

    Text us at 858-281-8008 - Be sure and put "new wage case" in your text. 

    Or leave us a message on this web page
     

    Disclaimer: Please understand these discussions and/or examples are not legal advice. All legal situations are different. This testimonial, photographs,  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. Every case is different. 

    This article is not legal advice. 

  • Is “donning and doffing” required to be paid for by a California employer?

    Yes.

    In order to perform their work effectively, many employees are required to wear special clothing, such as safety equipment, PSE, safety equipment, work gear, protective gear, hats, boots, aprons, and other equipment. Depending on the job, it can take over 10 minutes to put on and take off required clothing before and after each shift or breaks. In some cases, employers may insist that this “donning and doffing” be done on the employee’s own time.

    In this article, I answer these questions and/or address the following issues regarding donning and doffing:

    Am I supposed to be paid for the time it takes for me to put on and take off my work gear (safety gear, uniform, bunny suit, Tyvek coveralls, etc.)?

    Uniforms

    Safety Gear

    Bunny Suits

    Food Processing workers

    What are some of the industries where donning and doffing wage violations regularly occur?

    What is the California law concerning getting paid for donning and doffing / putting on and taking off equipment for my work?

    What if it only takes a minute or two in order to put on and/or take off the equipment/ work gear?  Am I still supposed to be compensated for this short amount of time?

    Donning and doffing law violations can lead to overtime violations

    ​Case study - Kitchen and serving workers - donning and doffing (putting on and taking off smocks, aprons and hairnets)

    Am I supposed to be paid for the time it takes for me to put on and take off my work gear (safety gear, uniform, bunny suit, Tyvek coveralls, etc.)? 

    Yes.

    In legal terms, this is called "donning" (putting your safety gear, uniform, etc.) on and "doffing" (taking off your uniform, safety gear, etc.). 

    California donning and doffing law refers to California law that employees must be compensated for time spent changing into and out of: uniforms, safety equipment, work gear, PSE, bunny suits, safety gear that is need in order to perform their work duties. Employers must pay for all time that employees are under their control. Even if it is only takes a minute or two to put on or take off the work gear. 

    California employers can be compelled to pay workers for any pre- or post-shift activities that take place in service of the employer, even if the employee has not begun his principal work activities. Any tasks that are considered to be essential to the employee’s principal work activity should be compensable as part of an employee’s weekly pay, including:

    Uniforms:

    Police officers, nurses, doctors, mechanics, and other professionals who are required to wear uniforms should be paid to do so on-premises, especially if their work activities require a change of clothes mid-shift.

    Safety Gear:

    Some workers need to wear safety gear for the full duration of their shifts, such as food service workers or biochemical engineers. In many cases, the protective equipment needed takes several minutes to put on and take off, and doing so at home could compromise both the safety and sterility of the uniform. Any changing of clothes that cannot be done at home without posing a threat to the worker or work environment must be paid for by your employer.

    Bunny Suits:

    Part of the silicon wafer manufacturing process, phone manufacturing process, and/or computer manufacturing process takes place in "cleanrooms" -- environments that have few of the airborne impurities that exist in the ambient air. Cleanrooms are classified by the number of particles of contamination permitted per cubic foot. Therefore, a Class 10,000 cleanroom has more impurities than a Class 10 cleanroom.

    All employees who work in cleanrooms must wear gowns to help maintain the environment. The gowns worn in the cleanrooms are referred to as "bunny suits." The process of preparing oneself to enter the cleanroom is called "gowning."

    Under California law, the time is takes workers to put on bunny suits and take off bunny suits must be paid work time. Companies can not legally require you to gown while you are not getting paid. 

    Under California law, you are entitled to rest breaks and meal breaks. Companies that require you to perform gowning (putting on your bunny suit or taking off your bunny suit), during part of the rest break or part of the meal break are in violation of California law. 

    You are not only entitled to be compensated for this time, but it is also a violation of California law. You are entitled to an hour's pay each time this occurs. California Labor Code Section 226.7. 

    Food Processing workers

    Workers in the food processing industry are usually required to put on and take off safety equipment and/or personal hygiene equipment in order to work in the food processing plant.  Under California law, you must be paid for the time it takes you to put on and take off this equipment. 

    Further, you are entitled to rest breaks and meal breaks. No part of your rest break or meal break can be spent putting on or taking off uniforms, protective gear, equipment, safety equipment and the like. 

    What are some of the industries where donning and doffing wage violations regularly occur?

     
    Kitchen workers, electric companies, gas companies, power companies, nuclear power companies, food processing workers, factory workers, semiconductors, electronics, phone manufacturing, computer manufacturing, instrument manufacturing,  industries where workers that must wear PPE - personal protective equipment, food service workers, drilling companies , oilfield workers, nurses, ER nurses, ICU nurses, food packing companies, food processing companies, construction, pharmacy technicians/ pharmacy workers, cooks, bussers, welders, mechanics, medical lab technicians, amusement park workers.  
     
    There are many more job and industries that require personal protective equipment or special gear or clothing in order to perform the job. 
     

    What is the California law concerning getting paid for donning and doffing / putting on and taking off equipment for my work? 

    Under California law, you must be paid for all time that you are under the control of the employer. Sali v. Corona Reg'l Med. Ctr., 909 F.3d 996, 1009-10 (9th Cir. 2018).  Workers that are donning and doffing - meaning, they are putting on clothes or equipment in order to perform their job - must be paid for that time. Ballaris v. Wacker Siltronic Corp., 370 F.3d 901, 903-904 (2004); Alvarez v. IBP, Inc., 339 F.3d 894 (9th Cir. 2003);  Negrete v. Conagra Foods, Inc., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 76291, *

     

    What if it only takes a minute or two in order to put on and/or take off the equipment/ work gear?  Am I still supposed to be compensated for this short amount of time?

    Yes.

    Under California law, employers must compensate you for any regular time that you spend before or after your shift (or during meal breaks and/or rest breaks) that you must perform.  Thus, even if it only takes a minute or two, then the company must still compensate you for this time. 

    Whenever you are under the control of your employer - you must be paid for that time. Sali v. Corona Reg'l Med. Ctr., 909 F.3d 996, 1009-10 (9th Cir. 2018).

    Your employer must pay you for this time, even if it is a short amount of time. Troester v. Starbucks Corp., 5 Cal. 5th 829, 847 (2018). Even when they only take a minute or two to perform.

     

    Happy clients with their settlement checks from a California unpaid wages case.
    Clients that are happy they got their check in a California Wage Case

    Donning and doffing law violations can lead to overtime violations

    A full-time employee who has been docked pay for pre- and post-shift work could be entitled to a significant amount of overtime pay. 

    Donning and doffing law violations can lead to meal period violations, rest break violations, paycheck stub violations and waiting time penalties (and we're talking very significant sums of money) 

    In most instances, when a company violates the law relating to donning and doffing it also leads to meal period violations and rest period violations. This is because workers will usually have to spend part of their meal break time and rest break time taking off and then putting back on their uniforms, safety gear and/or protective equipment. Most workers can't be expected to rest or eat while wearing this gear. 

    Under California law, you are entitled to an hour's pay every time you aren't provided a meal period and an hours pay every time you're not provided a rest break. California Labor Code Section 226.7. 

    In addition, as with all wages owed to workers, there are usually paycheck stub violations based upon the failure to list all the hours worked and the wages earned on the workers pay stubs. California Labor Code Section 226. 

    Finally, when all wages are not paid at time of termination, you are owed 30 days pay. California Labor Code Section 203. 

    In order to see how these all really add up fast, I suggest you check out the case studies. The Case Studies illustrate how the donning and doffing law work and how the meal period violations, rest break violations, pay stub violations and waiting time penalties all add up. 

     

    Case study - Kitchen and serving workers - donning and doffing (putting on and taking off smocks, aprons and hairnets)

     
    In a recent case, the workers served food in a large company.  This is a large Internet company. The company provides a large cafeteria style restaurant onsite, for its workers.  The company that runs the cafeteria work for a contracting company. 
     
    The lunches are served buffet style to office workers. The kitchen workers and servers have to report to a changing room before their shift.  The put on smocks, aprons and hairnets in the changing room. From their they go to clock in.  The time spent in the changing room and then walking to and then clocking in is approximately 3-4 minutes per shift. The putting on their work clothes is called “donning” under the law.
     
    After their shift is over, they clock out and then go back to the changing room and take off their work clothes.  Then they put their work clothes in a laundry bin.  This also takes 3-4 minutes per shift. The taking off of their work clothes is called “doffing” under the law.
     
    Since the wearing of the work clothes is a requirement for the job, then the workers should be paid for these duties. It is illegal for the company to not pay the workers for this time that the workers are under the control of the employer.
     
    Using a conservative figure the kitchen and serving workers are entitled to 6 minutes of pay per day.
     
    Assuming the they work 50 weeks out of the year and work 5 shifts a week, that comes out to 25 hours. At $14 and hour that is $350. This is for the donning and doffing time at the beginning and end of the shifts.
     
    In addition, the company gave the employees a 30 minute meal break. If the workers wanted to leave the premises, they had to go to the locker room and change during their  30 minute meal break.  Under the Brinker California Supreme Court case, this is illegal for meal breaks. Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Superior Court, 53 Cal. 4th 1004, 1040 (Cal. 2012).
     
    I know the Brinker case well, because I represented the workers in the Brinker case.
     
    Under the Brinker case, The employer satisfies its obligation to provide meal breaks if the employer:
     
    1.  Relieves its employees of all duty,
    2.  Relinquishes control over their activities and
    3.  Permits them a reasonable opportunity to take an uninterrupted 30 minute break, and
    4.  Does not impede or discourage them from doing so.  Or provide an incentive to forego.
    Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Superior Court, 53 Cal. 4th 1004, 1040 (Cal. 2012).
     
    When employees have to take off their smocks, aprons and hairnets and go to the employee changing room in order to do so, during their 30 meal break; then they didn’t receive an uninterrupted 30 minute meal break.
     
    The employees are owed an hour’s pay for each missed meal break.  California Labor Code Section 226.7.
     
    The workers worked 50 weeks in the previous year. Thus, the calculation for the meal period premium pay is as follows:
     
    $14 x 5 shifts a week x 50 weeks = $3,500
     
    In addition, the company “gave” the employees 10 minute rest break.  If the employees wanted to leave the premises during their rest break they had to the locker room and change.   The California Supreme Court in Augustus held that employers have the same duties in providing rest breaks as they do meal breaks. Augustus v. ABM Security Services, Inc., 2 Cal. 5th 257, 270 (2016).
     
    I know the Augustus case very well also, because I wrote the winning Supreme Court brief in the Augustus case.
     
    Thus, the employees failed to receive legal rest breaks also.
     
    The employees are owed an hour’s pay for each missed rest break. California Labor Code Section 226.7.
     
    Conservatively, we till only use one missed rest break per shift.
     
    The worker worked 50 weeks in the previous year. Thus, the calculation for the rest period premium pay is as follows:
     
     $14 x 5 shifts a week x 50 weeks = $3,500
     
    In addition, the workers are entitled to $4,000 in paycheck stub violations.
     
    And, they are also entitled to waiting time penalties. California Labor Code Section 203.
     
    In this case study we are going to use the workers “same rate”, including the meal period premiums and rest period premiums.
     
    Thus, the wages at “the same rate” is as follows:
     
     $14 x 8 hours + $14 meal period premium + rest period premium = $140
     
     $140 x 30 = $4,200 waiting time penalties
     
    The total wages and statutory penalties are as follows:
     
     $     350  unpaid time (putting uniform on and off)
     $  3,500  meal period premiums
     $  3,500  rest period premiums 
     $  4,000  paycheck stub violations  
     $  4,200  waiting time penalties
     $15,550 Total

     
     
    Thus, the workers are looking a potential unpaid wages and statutory penalties of $15,500. Please note that these are the wages and penalties owed to the workers that worked on year.  The workers that were at the company for three years are looking at potential claims of $29,550. 

    In addition, there are numerous potential PAGA penalties in addition to these wages and statutory penalties. 

     

    Bill Turley was called "California's Leading Wage and Hour Class Action Lawyer"

    Donning and Doffing lawyer - Bill Turley

    We are not saying this to brag. We are telling you this so you will know that Bill knows what he’s talking about.  Bill Turley represented the workers in the leading California Supreme Court case on California unpaid wages law - Brinker vs. Superior Court. 

    Bill wrote the winning briefs in the recent California Supreme Court cases - Augustus vs. Superior Court (the leading case on rest breaks) and Williams vs. Superior Court (the case that gives you the right to getting the names of your co-employees in a PAGA case). 

    Bill is regularly asked to testify before the California State Senate and the California State Assembly on unpaid wages law.  Bill helped write the recent changes to California's unpaid wages PAGA laws.

     

    Call us at 619-304-1000  - If you call after regular business hours, when you leave a message, be sure to repeat your name and telephone number twice, so we get it correctly. And be sure to indicate whether it's okay if we respond by text.

    Text us at 858-281-8008 - Be sure and put "new wage case" in your text. 

    Or leave us a message on this web page

    These discussions and/or examples are not legal advice. All legal situations are different. This testimonial, photos, 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.

  • How do I know if my job is covered by California’s Wage Order Number 9?

    California's Wage Order Number 9 Covers Transportation Industry Employees

    Wage Order Number 9 applies to workers in California’s transportation industry. The term “transportation industry” is used to refer to any business or establishment that carries persons or property from one place to another by road, rail, air or water. It includes all operations and services connected with the transport of persons and property, including storage and warehousing and the parking, repair, maintenance, cleaning, and rental of vehicles.

    Semi-trucks parked.

    Industries Covered by California’s Wage Order Number 9

    Air Transportation

    • Airlines
    • Air delivery services
    • Airplane maintenance companies
    • Baggage handling companies

    Ground Transportation

    • Ambulance services
    • Armored car services
    • Bus lines
    • Car rental agencies
    • Car washes (non-retail)
    • Courier services
    • Garages that are not operated by a car dealer or gas station
    • Garbage collection services
    • Limousine services
    • Logging trucks (commercial)
    • Moving and storage companies
    • Package and parcel delivery companies
    • Parking garages and parking lots
    • Storage garages
    • Taxi services
    • Tire aligning and balancing companies
    • Tour buses
    • Tow trucks
    • Transportation companies
    • Truck rentals
    • Trucking companies
    • Trucking companies (agricultural)
    • Vehicle repair
    • Vehicle maintenance businesses
    • Warehouse and storage facilities

    Water Transportation

    • Boats
    • Boat rentals
    • Cruise ships
    • Ferries
    • Ship rentals
    • Ship repair
    • Stevedores
    • Water taxis

    Rail Transportation

    • Railways

    Airline workers and a jumbo jet.

    Truck drivers, delivery drivers, and commercial drivers are covered by California’s Wage Order Number 9, yet these workers rarely get the rest breaks and meal periods guaranteed by state law. This is because employees don’t always understand their rights.

    If you think you have a California wage and hour case, make sure that you choose an experienced attorney. Attorneys who don’t specialize in truck, delivery and commercial driver law may undervalue your claim because they don’t understand California’s wage and hour law and how it applies to drivers.

     

    Bill Turley on the cover of San Diego Attorney Journal magazine.

     

    Listed as amicus counsel on over 20 California Supreme Court cases 

    Bill is listed as amicus counsel on over 20 California Supreme Court cases and Bill wrote two winning amicus briefs for important recent wage cases before the California Supreme Court.

    Happy clients with their settlement checks from a California unpaid wages case.
    What makes this all worthwhile - when employees receive their checks for unpaid wages!

     

    Call us at 619-304-1000  - If you call after regular business hours, when you leave a message, be sure to repeat your name and telephone number twice, so we get it correctly. And be sure to indicate whether it's okay if we respond by text.

    Text us at 858-281-8008 - Be sure and put "new wage case" in your text. 

    Or leave us a message on this web page

    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.

  • What are the rules governing overtime wages in California?

    Federal Law requires employers to pay overtime wages to any eligible worker who works more than 40 hours in a workweek (168 consecutive hours). Overtime pay is paid at a rate no less than one and one-half times the regular pay rate (time and a half). California overtime rules build on federal laws, but there are significant differences.

    Attorney Bill Turley testifying at the California State Senate

    California's 8-hour Workday

    One important difference between California overtime law and federal overtime law is California’s 8-hour workday. In California, non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime pay when they work more than eight hours in a single day. The worker must be paid time and a half for the extra work.

    There is an exception:  California employers may offer an alternative workweek. For example, a dental office may ask its hygienists to work four 10-hour days instead of five 8-hour days in order to offer evening appointments. Employees must be given a chance to vote on the alternative schedule. The schedule must be approved by two-thirds of the employees in the affected work unit. In this case, the employees could work up to ten hours without receiving overtime.

     

    California's 12-hour Double-Time

    Eligible employees who work more than 12 hours in a single day, are entitled to receive twice their regular rate of pay for those work hours.

     

    California's 40-hour Work Week

    Both federal and state laws require payment of overtime wages to employees who work more than 40 hours in a 7-day work week. This rule applies to any period of 168 consecutive hours.

     

    California's 7th Consecutive Day Rule

    A California employee who works for seven consecutive days in a single workweek, is entitled to time-and-a-half overtime for the first eight hours worked on the seventh workday.

     

    Are You Covered by California’s Overtime Laws?

    There are exemptions to California’s overtime law. Workers who receive a salary that is at least twice minimum wage ($10.50 per hour) are exempt from overtime. The worker must also qualify as an exempt professional, exempt executive, or exempt administrator. Firefighters, police officers, government employees, and certain computer professionals are also overtime exempt.

    If an employee is misclassified as overtime exempt, his employer must pay the employee any unpaid overtime as well as penalties, interest and attorney’s fees.

    If you believe that you are owed overtime, contact a skilled California wage and hour attorney. The attorney will be able to tell you if your employer owes you money.

     

    Happy clients with their settlement checks from a California unpaid wages case.
    Clients that are happy they got their check in a California Wage Case

     

    Representing workers all over California

    Bill Turley has a State-wide practice. While his main office is in San Diego, he handles cases for workers all over California. 

     


    Call us at 619-304-1000  - If you call after regular business hours, when you leave a message, be sure to repeat your name and telephone number twice, so we get it correctly. And be sure to indicate whether it's okay if we respond by text.

    Text us at 858-281-8008 - Be sure and put "new wage case" in your text. 

    Or leave us a message on this web page

     

    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.