Oakland Employment Lawyers

Employment lawyers advocate for the rights, obligations, and responsibilities that exist in employer-employee relationships. They can help their clients navigate various issues such as wage and overtime standards, workers’ compensation, workplace safety, sexual harassment, and wrongful termination, among others. An employment lawyer may work with either an employee or an employer, but never both.

Employment lawyers can serve employees by reviewing their employment contracts, offering advice on employment rights, and suggesting the best legal action if an employer conducts themself inappropriately. They can also act as mediators between employers and employees, bridging the gap between the two parties by handling collective bargaining cases. 

If you need help with a wage or overtime dispute, our California employment law attorneys can help you understand the laws that may apply to your claim and what you need to do to work through the wage claims process successfully.

Oakland Wage and Hour Disputes

Wage and hour disputes arise when an employee doesn’t receive appropriate compensation. For example, if an employer asks their employee to work overtime but fails to pay for the extra hours, the employee may raise a dispute. In most cases, these scenarios occur if the employer misclassifies the employees to avoid paying overtime pay.

Local Oakland and California State Laws

Most employees in California, including those employed full-time, are entitled to overtime pay if they work for more than 40 hours per week. However, employees performing certain types of jobs are exempt from this law. These exemptions have strict requirements that an employer must meet.

The Oakland Minimum Wage Law came into effect on March 2, 2015, raising the minimum wage in Oakland to $12.25 per hour and increasing it yearly. The 2021 Oakland minimum wage is $14.36 per hour, and the 2022 Oakland minimum wage is $15.06 per hour.

Under this law, employees can file a wage and hour complaint if their employer deviates from any of the following requirements:

  • If an employee works for over eight hours per day or over forty hours per week, their employer must compensate them with overtime by the regular payday on the next pay period.
  • Employers are required to establish regular pay periods and issue a paycheck within seven to ten days after the pay period.
  • Employees are entitled to paid breaks and unpaid meal breaks. The length of each break depends on the number of hours worked. 
  • If an employer decides to terminate an employee’s contract, or if the employee resigns, the employer must issue a final check that covers all hours worked up until the employee’s last day.
  • If an employee resigns or is terminated, the employer must pay for all accrued but unused vacation days.

If your employer violates any of these requirements, the Cutter Law, P.C. employment lawyers in Oakland, can help you resolve the issue quickly and efficiently.

Compensation in a Wage and Hour Dispute

According to California employment laws as well as state labor laws, an employer is subject to penalties if they fail to pay their employee on the agreed-upon payday. They will be fined $100 for the first offense and $200 for subsequent violations.

Unpaid Overtime in Oakland

California employment law requires that employers pay their employees overtime, whether authorized or unauthorized. According to the law:

  • If an employee works more than 8 hours a day, they are entitled to overtime pay.
  • A worker is entitled to one and one half times their standard rate if they work for eight to twelve hours. They are entitled to double their regular pay for working more than 12 hours in a day.
  • A 40-hour work week is standard. An employee should be paid one and one half times their weekly pay for any hours beyond that.
  • Employees are entitled to one rest day per week. Therefore, they are entitled to one and one half times pay for the first eight hours they work on the seventh consecutive day and double pay for more than eight hours.

Is it illegal to work unpaid overtime in Oakland?

California’s employment law requires an employer to pay for all overtime hours, whether the overtime was authorized or not. An employer does have the right to discipline their employee for any unauthorized overtime hours. Similarly, an employee cannot hide unauthorized overtime from their employer. Still, no matter the situation, the employer must pay for any excess hours worked.

When are overtime wages due in Oakland?

An employer must pay all overtime wages no later than the agreed-upon pay day. If you receive weekly or biweekly payment, your overtime can be paid on the next following pay day, but no more than seven days after the close of the pay period.

If your employer fails to honor this requirement, they might be legally liable.

Are salaried employees due overtime pay in Oakland?

A salaried employee is entitled to overtime pay unless exempted by the California Labor Code or the Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Orders. The same rules apply in terms of hours and overtime rates.

What to Do If Overtime Is Not Paid

If your employer fails to pay overtime, you can file a lawsuit to claim any lost wages. You can also file a wage claim through the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement.

Who Is Exempt from Overtime Pay in Oakland?

To be exempted from overtime pay, employees must meet the salary base test and the job duties test. The salary test provides for a weekly rate that is paid out no matter the number of hours worked. The job duties test looks beyond a job title or description and requires employees to be performing exempt work the majority of the time. Exempt work includes:

  • Administrative: An administrative role employee deals strictly with office work and makes independent decisions on general business operations. However, many employers take advantage of this exemption when it comes to employees providing the services or products provided by the employer. 
  • Executive: Someone working in an executive position is responsible for overseeing the business or one of its subdivisions. Such an employee spends most time delegating and supervising employees. 
  • Professional: A professional employee possesses advanced knowledge in a specific field gained from prolonged learning. Such an employee exercises independent discretion and judgment in the performance of their work. According to Oakland employment law, such a worker is not exempt from overtime pay if they don’t have a professional license where required.

Common Indicators of Unpaid Overtime 

It’s possible to work for long hours but receive a paycheck that’s less than what you expected. This happens when employers engage in misclassification schemes or try to shave off an employee’s hours. 

An employee might have accrued unpaid overtime if the following occurs:

  • Not receiving pay past 40 hours a week an employer may misclassify an employee as overtime-exempt to avoid paying overtime. They might also ask an employee to work during off hours or breaks, pay a flat rate, or average out workweeks.
  • Receiving the same amount for overtime hours as normal hours
  • Intentional errors in bonus calculations
  • Inappropriate fixed payment instead of hourly rate this could be a weekly payment or a payment for a specific amount of work.

If you notice any signs of these or other errors in your paycheck, do not hesitate to contact our employment lawyers, who can help determine if you’re entitled to compensation.

Is it worth hiring an Oakland employment lawyer?

You may want to hire an employment lawyer in Oakland if you are subjected to any of the following situations:

  • Discriminatory treatment due to a protected status such as pregnancy
  • Wrongful contract termination
  • Failure to receive the benefits you are entitled to as per your employment contract
  • Workplace harassment
  • Employer retaliation after requesting rightful overtime payment

How can the employment attorneys at Cutter Law, P.C. help?

If you are involved in an employment dispute or feel that your employer is not compliant with local, state, and federal employment laws, contact our Oakland legal team today. We can review your case, determine if you are eligible for compensation, handle your wage claim, and ensure your rights as an employee in Oakland are protected.

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