Wage And Hour Claim Defense

Unpaid Wages/Overtime

In California, employers designate their employees as either exempt or non-exempt, depending upon whether overtime compensation is available for time spent beyond the normal eight-hour workday. Frequently, employers incorrectly classify an employee's position as exempt from overtime compensation sometimes costing the employer literally millions of dollars in unpaid overtime, penalties, interest, and attorney's fees. An inspection by an experienced lawyer of these designations before a claim arises can result in huge savings.

Wages, including earned commissions or vacation pay are often improperly withheld by employers for many reasons, such as a claim the employee "owes" money for damages or losses the employee may have caused, or simply poor accounting practices. In such instances, a civil claim for unpaid wages may be appropriate.

Often, an employer will pay employees in cash to avoid paying overtime and payroll taxes. This is never a good decision and often exposes the employer to substantial civil and potential criminal liability.

Sometimes, the best solution occurs before the problem arises. Again, an experienced attorney examining the company's wage and overtime practices can save thousands of dollars.

Meal Periods, Break Periods

This is one area where employers are quite often confused and fail to properly follow the law. The regulations are detailed and generally hard to understand. When a disgruntled employee raises the issue, it is often too late to avoid a huge potential liability exposure. The better practice is to understand the law in advance and to have the company's practices reviewed by an experienced attorney before a problem arises.

Generally, California regulations require an employee receive a meal period of no less than 30 minutes. This meal period is unpaid and frequently is longer than 30 minutes. The regulations further require the employee take the meal period at some time during the first five hours of work. If the employee and employer agree in writing and the employee works no more than six hours on that day, then the meal period can be waived. If the employee were to work more than ten hours, that employee must be given a second thirty-minute or more meal period.

Employers must encourage hourly employees to take a paid rest period of at least ten minutes as close as practical to the middle of every four-hour period. An employee may choose not to use the offered rest period. An employer's failure to encourage compliance with these meal period regulations or a failure to offer lawful rest periods subjects the employer to pay additional wages and certain penalties.

Representing employers, Ronald D. Wilton has successfully defended employee initiated wage and hour claims, but more importantly, has investigated existing employment practices to prevent meritorious claims from occurring. Such advice may literally save a business from potentially catastrophic litigation in terms of defense expenditures, attorney's fees, penalties, back-wages, and interest.

Some of the issues or matters Wilton Law & Mediation handles in this area include:

  • Failure to pay overtime based on mis-classification of an employee as exempt
  • Failure to pay other benefits owed to the employee such as accrued vacation
  • Failure to timely pay wages when due, or at time of termination
  • Failure to provide timely and accurate documentation of wages earned

By representing both employer and employee, Wilton Law & Mediation is uniquely positioned to offer the most cogent and appropriate advice. Employment litigation is expensive and time-consuming and it is crucially important that the employer do what is necessary to limit its exposure.

Because of the ever-changing complexity of this area of the law, an educated and experienced lawyer must be consulted to identify and evaluate potential claims.

Set up an appointment for your free consultation today with attorney Ronald Wilton by calling us at 818-906-3500 or fill out the online Contact Form and we will contact you as soon as possible.