California law is very protective of the employees working in this state, especially when it comes to their wages earned and hours worked. The source of this law is the California Labor Code and the regulations created by the Industrial Welfare Commission.
Want to File a Civil Lawsuit or Wage Claim to Recover Unpaid Minimum Wages?
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).
Minimum Wage Law Overview
California employers must pay their employees minimum wage. The current minimum wage is $8.00 per hour. In 2007 it was $7.50 per hour. In 2004-2006 it was $6.75 per hour.
Typically, an employee may collect unpaid minimum wage going back three years from the date his or her lawsuit is filed. However, it may be possible to go back as many as four years.
- Full-time Worker works an average of 40 hours per week. He has been employed with the same company for four years. His employer paid him $5.00 for three months in 2006. Based on this information, his employer would owe him the difference between the 2006 minimum wage — $6.75 — and what he was paid for those three months — $5 — or $1.75 for each hour during that time period. The total would be $840, plus interest, additional penalties, and attorney fees.
Penalties for the Non-Payment of Wages
In any action for unpaid wages, if it can be shown that the employer willfully refused to pay minimum wage, overtime, or doubletime or to provide meal periods, the employer can be held liable for penalties. These penalties include 30 days of pay for each aggrieved employee.
- Worker prevails on a claim for missed meal periods and can show that the employer acted willfully in denying the meal periods. Worker was making $45,000 a year in salary and she worked eight-hour days. Based on this information, Worker’s “regular” rate would be approximately $21.60, so her penalties would be 30 days x 8 hours x $21.60 per hour, or $5,184.
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