California employees are entitled to certain benefits, including a minimum wage that is higher than the federal rate, rest and meal breaks and paid overtime for more than eight hours of consecutive work. There are some employers, however, that may try to take advantage of employees by violating work and hour laws set by the Fair Labor Standards Act. By becoming more familiar with the methods employers use to deviate from the set laws, you can minimize your chances of becoming a victim.
One way employers may try to get around the minimum wage law is by paying the minimum wage set by the federal law rather than California’s higher wage rate. Some employers may attempt to have you work without pay or work ‘off the clock,’ while others may offer you a salary that equates out to less than minimum hourly wage.
Overtime violations may occur if you are made to work more than eight hours in a day without getting paid time and a half for any additional hours worked. Federal law requires employees to get time and a half for working over 40 hours a week, yet California standards are a bit more rigid. In addition to the 40-hour work week, they incorporate the overtime pay to working more than an eight-hour work day.
In other parts of the country, employers who hire tipped workers are allowed to pay their employees a lower minimum wage, as long as the tips workers earn bring them up to at least minimum hourly wage. In California, tipped workers must be paid at least minimum wage, and the tips earned are on top of that minimum wage. Employers who attempt to pay a lower minimum wage to tipped workers are in violation of California labor laws.