Wage and hour disputes in Los Angeles are an increasingly common complaint. Employers sometimes cut corners to avoid paying workers the full amount. In some instances, workers are mis-classified as independent contractors rather than employees, depriving them of receipt of important benefits, such as workers’ compensation and overtime pay.
This is increasingly becoming problematic in this digital age, as a recent case out of Northern California highlights. The San Francisco Chronicle reports an employee of a major online retailer is claiming the employer is not giving breaks and not paying overtime at his employment location.
Of course, it is possible for employers to make an honest clerical error and short a paycheck merely by accident. However, even then, the employee should be able to point out the mistake and get the issue resolved fairly quickly. If the employer is not willing to promptly correct the payroll issue, this is a good sign there may be bigger problems at hand.
The complaint out of San Francisco alleges employees were not paid over time during regular and consecutive 10-hour shifts that total more than 40 hours a week. Workers also say breaks were not allowed or paid as required by state statute. Workers alleged their pay was regularly docked for the time it took for them to get from the time clock to where they assigned to work.
As our Los Angeles employment lawyers can explain, while employers are generally not required to pay employees for the time it takes them to travel to and from work, but they are required to compensate most employees for on-the-clock travel. There are many situations where an employee will be required to sign in at one location and then go to another location where they actually perform their duties. In some cases, the employees are taken by shuttle or must driver their personal vehicles to the location of their physical place of assignment. This can take a matter of minutes or much longer, and once that employee punches in for the day, this time must be paid. While this certainly happens in large factories, farm work is another routine example. The workers check in at the entrance to the farm and then typically get dropped off at distant fields.
Break Requirements in California
Pursuant to the Department Industrial Regulations (DIR), workers must be given a 10-minute period of paid rest (break) for each four hour period in which they work in any given day. This is supposed to be in the middle of the four hour block to the fullest extent practical. This is considered a “net” break because the employee can split of the break if he or she wants. This is typically when employees want to take a break to smoke a cigarette or use a cell phone to make a quick call.
If the employer does not provide these breaks, it is likely a violation of California labor laws. In these cases, it is imperative to discuss legal options with an experienced employment law attorney.
Contact the employment attorneys at Nassiri Law Group, practicing in Orange County, Riverside and Los Angeles. Call 949.375.4734.
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