California Wage and Hour Laws – Unpaid Overtime, Minimum Wage, Meal Periods, Class Actions, and More
Strauss Law Group’s largest practice area is employment litigation (i.e., lawsuits over the terms and conditions of one’s employment). Within our employment litigation practice area, most of our cases are dedicated to California wage-and-hour law.
In other words, Strauss Law Group regularly handles cases involving the payment of minimum, overtime, and doubletime wages, the mis-classification of employees as exempt when they are really non-exempt (and thereby entitled to payment of overtime, doubletime, etc.), the payment of all wages owed at termination, and meal and rest periods/breaks.
Want to File a Civil Lawsuit?
If you are interested in filing a civil lawsuit, you very likely will need legal representation. Strauss Law Group usually represents employees on a contingency basis, meaning that we only get paid if we win. Contact Strauss Law Group now for a free case evaluation or call us 24/7 at (805) 641-9992 or (877) 641-9992 (toll free).
To learn more about each of our individual practice areas, click on the links below. Or skip to our frequently asked questions section for more general information about California wage-and-hour law.
- Unpaid Overtime (and Doubletime) Wages
- Unpaid Minimum Wages
- Mis-Classified Salaried Employees (including “salaried, non-exempt” workers)
- Penalties for the Non-Payment of Wages
- Unreimbursed Job Expenses
- Denied meal periods (working during lunch off the clock)
Frequently Asked Questions
How much may an employee be owed for unpaid overtime or missed meal periods under California law?
Employees may go back four years from the date of filing a lawsuit in court to collect unpaid overtime or one hour of pay for each denied meal period. This amount can add up quickly, especially when penalties and interest are taken into account.
What is better: filing a wage claim with the California Labor Commissioner or a lawsuit in state or federal court to recover unpaid wages?
Generally, the answer depends on how long an employee has been employed by the employer he or she seeks to sue for unpaid wages. If the employee has been with an employer for less than three years, it may make more sense to take his or her claim to the Labor Commissioner as a wage claim. However, in civil court, the employee may go back one additional year to recover wages. Plus, in civil court, the an employee that prevails in his or her claim for unpaid wages can collect his or her attorney fees. Hence, it may make more sense to file a civil lawsuit in state or federal court to reclaim unpaid wages.
Does an employee need an attorney to represent him or her in civil court if the employee wants to bring a lawsuit for unpaid wages against his or her employer?
It is probably better to be represented by an attorney in either a civil case or a wage claim before the Labor Commissioner. Strauss Law Group’s attorneys have been representing employers and employees in civil lawsuits and wage claims before the Labor Commissioner for many years; their experience can come in very handy for their clients.
How many plaintiffs are necessary to maintain a class action?
All that is needed to start a class action is one plaintiff that wishes to represent the interests of the other class members.
As far as the standard number of class members needed to support a class action, there is no magic number. However, it is preferable to have 25 or more class members.
I’m worried that my ex-employer will make it very hard for me to get a new job if I file a class action against him. Is my worry justified?
It is illegal for an employer or ex-employer to retaliate against an employee or ex-employee who files a lawsuit or wage claim to collect unpaid wages.
What is the average time to process a wage claim?
The answer to this question depends on what is meant by “wage claim.” If an employee takes his or her claim to the Labor Commissioner, from our experience getting to the final decision in the matter may take as long as two years. If an action is brought in state court, it could be much faster. However, an employee bringing an action in state court for unpaid wages will most likely need an attorney. Contact Strauss Law Group now for an Overtime or Minimum Wage Case Evaluation.
Is there a labor law in California stating that an employer must pay an employee for two hours if sent home early?
Yes. An employee must be paid for at least two hours (and in some cases four hours) if sent home early on a regularly scheduled work day.
How do I start a lawsuit for unpaid wages against my employer (or former employer)?
If you have a valid claim for unpaid wages (Contact Strauss Law Group for a free case evaluation), you must draft a complaint, pay a filing fee, and file the case in (most likely) the county where you live or where you performed work for the defendant. Filing an unpaid wages case can be complicated, but Strauss Law Group can do it for you.
Do you have more questions? Contact Strauss Law Group with any questions you may have about Wage and Hour Class Action Lawsuits.