Dedicated Oakland Employer Defense Firm Fights Wage and Hour Claims
Determined Bay Area attorneys help resolve overtime and paycheck disputes
The employer defense attorneys at Bay Oak Law counsel businesses throughout the Bay Area on compliance with wage and hour laws. When workers voice concerns or file complaints about payment, rest breaks, benefits and other issues, we provide employers with legal guidance and seek favorable solutions. Located in Oakland since 1998, we are proud to have earned the respect of business leaders throughout the region.
What can a wage and hour attorney do for me?
Many companies turn to an employment law attorney when a dispute over one of the following issues arises:
- Payment of time-and-a-half for overtime
- Compliance with minimum-wage laws
- Off-the-clock work
- Delivery of a final employee paycheck
- Classification of a worker as an employee or independent contractor
- Payment of commissions or bonuses
- Deductions taken from a worker’s wages
Our Bay Area attorneys have an exceptional record of representing clients in legal matters relating to wage and hour conflicts. We start by reviewing the facts of the claim and assessing whether it has merit based on the relevant federal and state laws. From there, we advise on your legal options and vigorously pursue a successful resolution.
Experienced lawyers advocate for employers accused of unfair pay practices
Some of the key wage and hour laws that workers should be aware of relate to the following issues:
- Regular paychecks — California law generally requires employers to establish regular pay periods and to issue paychecks within seven to 10 days after the pay period ends.
- Overtime — When an employee earns overtime for working more than eight hours per day or more than 40 hours per week, they must be compensated by the regular payday for the next work period.
- Final paychecks — An employee should be issued a paycheck on their day of termination for all unpaid time worked up until then. Employees who give at least three days’ notice before resigning should be paid on their last day of work.
- Vacation pay — Upon resignation or termination, an employee must be paid the equivalent wages for accrued but unused vacation time.
- Rest breaks — California employees who work 3.5 hours or more in a day are owed at least one paid, 10-minute rest break. An employee who works more than six hours must be given an unpaid, 30-minute meal break. The total break time required depends on the length of the shift.
There are exceptions to these requirements, as in the cases of salaried employees and household domestic workers. If your employment practices are called into question, an experienced lawyer can help you resolve the dispute efficiently and cost-effectively.
Knowledgeable attorneys handle issues with independent contractors
While independent contracting is a common arrangement in the modern workplace, it cannot be used to skirt wage and hour laws. The distinction between independent contractor and employee is determined by the amount of control the employer can exert over the worker’s activities. Employees who are paid as independent contractors but who are, in reality, full employees may be entitled to recover benefits the employer failed to provide.
In 2020, California adjusted the standards used to distinguish between employees and independent contractors in legislation commonly referred to as Assembly Bill 5 (AB5). This led to a referendum regarding the status of app-based gig workers, such as Uber drivers and DoorDash delivery people. Currently, these individuals are classified as independent contractors. For other positions, the state now uses the following three-part analysis, known as the “ABC Test,” which says that the following must be true if someone is to be considered an independent contractor:
- The hiring entity does not control the worker’s performance in a manner consistent with an employer-employee relationship. While there might be an agreed-upon scope of work, the hiring entity does not set the details as to how the job gets done.
- The worker performs tasks that are not done by the hiring entity’s employees. Even if the worker is officially operating under a contract, a court might afford them employee status if their daily routine is indistinguishable from individuals who are employed by the company.
- Evidence exists that the worker had an independent business operation prior to their engagement with the hiring entity. This could be demonstrated by advertisements for the purported contractor’s business or proof that they previously established a legal entity for their operation.
If your business relies on independent contractors, we can apply the relevant law to your situation and help you avoid potential violations.
Issues covered under the Fair Labor Standards Act
The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets forth minimum standards that employers around the United States must follow. Specific provisions relate to overtime pay, minimum wage, minor employees, required recordkeeping and the posting of notices informing employees of their workplace rights. In many situations, state law mandates employment rules that go far beyond what is required by the federal government, so it is critical to consult with a California employment law attorney who understands the applicable state standards.
Laws governing overtime pay
Along with employees on the job more than 40 hours in a week, time-and-a-half must also be paid when someone works more than 12 hours in a day. This legal obligation exists even if the employer never specifically authorized the overtime. Disputes frequently arise over whether an employee’s position exempts them from the overtime premium. Executives, professionals, administrative employees, salespeople who work the majority of time outside the company office and employees in other specified positions are exempted from the overtime rules. The definitions for exempt roles can be confusing
Contact a Bay Area employer defense attorney to set up a free initial consultation
For help fighting an employee’s claims of wage and hour violations, reach out to the experienced California employment attorneys at Bay Oak Law. From our office in Oakland, we counsel businesses throughout the Bay Area. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 510-208-5500 or contact us online.