If you’re like many people, you could benefit from talking to a Los Angeles labor lawyer – but if you’re like most people, you don’t really know when to call, whether your employer has violated your rights, or what would happen if you talked to an attorney.
This guide will walk you through when you should call a Los Angeles labor lawyer for help.
When Should You Call a Los Angeles Labor Lawyer?
Any time you feel your employer has violated your rights as a worker – whether you think it violated a California law or a federal law – you should call a labor lawyer. When you talk to an attorney, he or she will explain your rights and help you determine whether your employer broke the law. If your employer didn’t violate your rights, at least now you know… and if your employer did violate your rights, you can choose whether to move forward with legal action that gets you the compensation you deserve.
5 Situations in Which You Should Call a Los Angeles Labor Lawyer
Some situations that you should call a Los Angeles labor lawyer for include:
- Minimum wage disputes
- Unpaid overtime
- Salary misclassification
- Unpaid sales commissions
- Unsafe working conditions
This isn’t a complete list, though. If you’re not sure whether your employer violated your rights or broke the law, it can’t hurt to call a labor lawyer to get clarification.
Minimum Wage Disputes
Every employer in California is required to pay its workers minimum wage or more. Our minimum wage is going up – each year, on January 1, it’s set to increase by $1 until 2023. At that time, everyone in California will be entitled to make at least $15 per hour, regardless of what type of work they’re doing.
It can get confusing right now, though, because some employers have a lower minimum wage than other employers do. Here’s the deal: Employers with 25 employees or fewer are allowed to pay $1 less than employers with 26 or more employees do. Again, that’ll even out by 2023, when everyone will be making at least $15 per hour. Check out this chart, which simplifies it:
|Year||25 Employees or Fewer||26 or More Employees|
In the state of California, the minimum wage is higher than the federal minimum wage. Because California requires us to follow the law that provides the most protections for workers, your employer can’t pay you the federal minimum wage. The current federal minimum wage is only $7.25 per hour.
If your employer isn’t paying you minimum wage, you may need to talk to a Los Angeles labor lawyer immediately to resolve the issue. You could be entitled to back pay and other forms of compensation.
Related: Wages in California
Hourly workers must receive overtime if they work more than a certain number of hours per week or a certain number of days per week. Not all employers are required to pay overtime, though, so if you’re not getting your overtime pay but you’re not sure about your own employer, your best bet is to get in touch with a Los Angeles labor lawyer.
Under our state’s current overtime laws, here’s what hourly employees are entitled to receive in overtime pay:
|8 or more per day||Time and a half|
|40 or more per week||Time and a half|
|7th consecutive day in one workweek||Time and a half|
|12 or more hours per day||Double time|
|Over 8 hours on the 7th consecutive day in one workweek||Double time|
This means if your hourly rate is $20 per hour, your time and a half rate is $30 per hour. Your double time rate is $40 per hour.
For example, if you work 45 hours in one week – let’s say it’s an extra hour each day of a five-day workweek – you’re entitled to your regular rate of pay for the first 40 hours. Then, you’re entitled to time and a half for the remaining 5 hours. If your hourly rate is $20 per hour, you should be paid a total of $800 for the first 40 hours you worked and a total of $150 for the 5 hours of overtime you worked. That means your check that week should be for $950 (before taxes and deductions).
If you know you’re working overtime but you’re not being paid for it, call a Los Angeles labor lawyer – because if your employer is one that’s required to pay overtime rates and you’re not getting the money, your employer is probably violating your rights.
Related: California overtime laws for hourly workers
Unfortunately, some California employers misclassify their employees in order to save money. Some employers say that workers are contractors when they’re really not – and this enables the company to save on benefits and other types of compensation.
Generally speaking, if you’re a contractor, you:
- Set your own hours
- Can work from any location
- Don’t receive employment benefits like insurance, overtime pay or sick pay
- Usually work independently
- Pay your own taxes (your employer doesn’t withhold them)
- Can’t claim worker’s compensation benefits
- Can’t claim unemployment benefits
- Receive your pay according to the contract you signed
Generally speaking, if you’re an employee, you:
- Work at certain times in a location the employer designates
- Work under the employer’s control
- Don’t make personal investments in relation to performing your job
- Have your employer withhold taxes and provide you with a net salary
- May be eligible for unemployment benefits
- Can claim worker’s compensation benefits
- Receive at least minimum wage
- Are protected by employment laws involving discrimination
- Are protected by workplace safety laws
You should call a Los Angeles labor lawyer if you think your employer has misclassified your employment – or if your employer is treating you like an employee rather than a contractor.
Related: The differences between contractors and employees
Unpaid Sales Commissions
When you’re in sales, you could be entitled to earn commission pay from your employer. If your employer definitely owes you money for commissions you agreed to before you took the job, you need to call a labor lawyer in Los Angeles; you may be legally entitled to that money, and your attorney can help you get it.
Commissions are usually based on a percentage of sales you make or profits you generate, or the number of sales you make. Most of the time, you’ll negotiate commission amounts before you even start a job.
Commissions are not bonuses – bonuses are discretionary, and commissions are not. That means if your employer owes you commissions, it has to pay them; if it were a bonus, the employer could decide whether or not to give it to you.
Related: Unpaid commissions
Unsafe Working Conditions
As a worker in California, you’re entitled to work in a safe place – one that doesn’t put you at unnecessary risk. Naturally, some jobs are more dangerous than others are. However, your employer is responsible for eliminating risks that you don’t need to take. If you think you’re working in unsafe working conditions, you should call a Los Angeles labor lawyer to learn about your rights.
Some hazardous working conditions can be classified this way:
- Ergonomic hazards
- Chemical hazards
- Biological hazards
Sometimes, if your workplace is unsafe, you might have the right to stop working until your employer fixes the issues. You have to be really careful, though – if you aren’t justified and you refuse to work, you could lose your job. Your best bet is to talk to a Los Angeles labor lawyer about your situation and find out what remedies are available to you.
Related: Unsafe working conditions: What you need to know
Do You Need to Talk to a Los Angeles Labor Lawyer?
If you feel that your employer has violated your rights and you’re entitled to protection under California law, we can help you. Call us at 818-918-3876 for a free consultation with a Los Angeles labor lawyer today.