Legal Support For Wage & Hour Disputes

One of the most frequent employment disputes involves wage or hour problems. Some employers take advantage of their workers by failing to pay overtime or by labeling an employee as an independent contractor to avoid providing that worker health care and other benefits. Employees can also be at a disadvantage because they feel they risk losing their job by fighting for their rights. However, both federal and state laws protect you from this kind of abuse.

If you're concerned about filing a claim against your employer, don't hesitate to call us. At Schimmel & Parks, APLC, we believe everyone should be compensated with fair wages and employment practices. Our attorneys have more than 60 years of collective legal experience and possess the skills it takes to handle some of the largest and most complex wage violation cases. Let us help you get the compensation you deserve.

Federal And State Laws

If your employer is violating your rights, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) can protect you. Both federal and state law requires your employer pay you a minimum wage. Legally, your wages cannot be docked below minimum wage, your final paycheck cannot be withheld, and you must be paid for travel time or any time spent on the job.

Likewise, your employer also should be paying you overtime wages if you are a non-exempt employee. Non-exempt employees are entitled to time-and-a-half wages for every hour worked over 40 hours in a single workweek.

Filing A Wage Claim

If your employer has not paid you your due wages, you can file an individual wage claim with the state of California. Make sure you file as soon as possible. Under California law, you have three years to file claims for violations of minimum wage, overtime, illegal deductions from your pay, or unpaid reimbursements. For claims based on an oral promise to pay more than minimum wage, you have two years to file. For claims based on a written contract, you should file within four years.

Make sure to gather any documents you have regarding your claim, such as paystubs, timesheets, calendars, or notes about your work hours. Likewise, identify any property your employer owns, such as buildings, equipment and inventory, just in case you win your case but your employer refuses to pay. The information can be used to collect your unpaid wages, and the Deputy Labor Commissioner who oversees your claim will ask you to list this property.

If you have more than one employer, identify all of them. Any person or business that manages your wage distribution, hours or working conditions might be included as a defendant in your claim and might be responsible for your payments.

You can then fill out and file the "Initial Report or Claim" with the Labor Commissioner District Office that handles wage claims for the city in which you work. The form is available at the Labor Commissioner's office and online. Make sure to submit the form with copies of your supporting documents; keep the original documents for your own records.

After you file your Initial Report or Claim, you and your employer will receive notification by mail about the next steps in your case. There will be a settlement conference and hearing you must attend, or your case will be dismissed. During the conference, the Deputy Labor Commissioner will try to help you and your employer reach a settlement agreement for the payment of your claim; if you cannot agree, the case will move on to a hearing. During the hearing, you will be able to submit evidence on your behalf; however, your case will be stronger if you have a skilled attorney to present your case in the best light.

We Can Help With Your Claims Process

Filing a claim can be confusing, and even small mistakes can jeopardize your chances for success. This is why working with an attorney is crucial.

To learn more, or to speak with a lawyer, reach out to our firm today. You can call us at 818-922-8544 or schedule an appointment online. We're here to answer your questions and address your concerns.