California Labor Law Confuses Employers & Employees

In California, the general overtime provisions are that a nonexempt employee 18 years of age or older, or any minor employee 16 or 17 years of age who is not required by law to attend school and is not otherwise prohibited by law from engaging in the subject work, shall not be employed more than eight hours in any workday or more than 40 hours in any workweek unless he or she receives one and one-half times his or her regular rate of pay for all hours worked over eight hours in any workday and over 40 hours in the workweek.”

-Department of Industrial Relations in the State of California

But unfortunately, it’s not the simple.

For instance,

  • What’s considered a non “general” overtime provision?
  • What is an exempt employee?
  • What are the California part time labor laws compared to the salary workers’?

Due to the complexity of California labor law, many employers are making mistakes that could prove costly if employees understood their rights in the workplace regarding these overtime laws.

California labor law is complex and the deck can be stacked against uninformed employers, even if they are trying to follow them.  Employers are being sued for everything from misclassifying as exempt employees or as independent contractors, both of which are exempt from overtime pay, to failing to appropriately pay final wages as set forth in California wage and hour law guidelines.  Failing to properly handle employee expense reimbursements, uniforms and tools is also expressly covered under this labor law, as well as what constitutes an unlawful vacation policy.  California labor laws require breaks and meal periods as well.

Laws that Protect Employees

California Salary Labor Laws

In California, you can still be entitled to overtime if you are in a salaried position or in a supervisory position.  Even if your salary is $100,000/year, you still have rights under California state labor laws that will grant you overtime pay.

California Part Time Labor Laws

California will also consider you to be eligible for overtime benefits if your company has labeled you as “part time” or if you hold a supervisory position.

Because of the narrowly defined exemptions expressed in California labor law, it is important you seek out an overtime attorney that specializes in this field instead of or in addition to bringing your complaint to the Labor Commission.

Finding an Overtime Law Firm to Help

State overtime laws vary widely with the labor laws for the state of California being exceptionally complex, especially within the high tech industry that the Labor Commission often does not have the time and resources to assist in understanding them.  Finding an overtime law firm that deals with these issues day in and day out is frequently the best route to take.

If you think you’ve overtime wages unfairly withheld, complete our Case Evaluation Form and submit it. An experienced overtime lawyer will then help you decide if your claim is a valid one.

Michael Lore is the founder of The Lore Law Firm. For over 25 years, his law practice and experience extend from representing individuals in all aspects of labor & employment law, with a concentration in class and collective actions seeking to recover unpaid back overtime wages, to matters involving executive severance negotiations, non-compete provisions and serious personal injury (work and non-work related). He has handled matters both in the state and federal courts nationwide as well as via related administrative agencies. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Michael by using our chat functionality.