San Diego Unpaid Wage Lawyer
Has your employer failed to pay the wages you are owed in San Diego, CA? Wage theft is a common issue; you may have an unpaid wage claim against your employer.
Ferraro Vega San Diego Employment Lawyers was founded to protect the rights of San Diego workers. Contact our law firm today at (619) 693-7727 for a free consultation with a San Diego unpaid wage lawyer. We will help you seek the compensation and benefits your employer owes you.
How Ferraro Vega San Diego Employment Lawyers Can Help with an Unpaid Wage Case in San Diego
When your employer violates California labor laws, they deserve to be held accountable. In many cases, multiple employees are impacted, and misclassification and wage violations are intentional. An experienced Wage and Hour Disputes Lawyer in San Diego will help you seek the back wages you are owed, plus penalties and interest.
Ferraro Vega San Diego Employment Lawyers was founded to represent employees in San Diego, California. Our firm focuses exclusively on employment law.
Choose our law firm to represent you, and we will:
- Investigate to determine which labor laws were violated and whether you can bring additional claims
- Determine if other employees were affected by labor violations for a class action lawsuit or PAGA claim
- Assist with filing a wage claim and represent you during the settlement conference and hearing
- Gather necessary evidence to prove your claim
- Negotiate with your employer to reach a settlement offer
- File a lawsuit against your employer to recover the wages you are owed
- Protect you from illegal workplace retaliation
A San Diego unpaid wage lawyer is your best shot at holding your employer responsible for wage violations. Call our law firm today to discuss your case and how we can help you.
Overview of Wage & Hour Laws in California
California offers some of the broadest employee protections in the U.S. In some cases, California labor laws are even more generous than federal protections.
There are several laws that protect workers, including the federal Labor Standards Act governing minimum wage and overtime. To qualify for full protection under labor laws, you must be classified as an “employee.”
There are many ways in which California employers may violate labor laws regarding wages.
California Labor Code 510 LC specifies how overtime pay is calculated and when it must be paid.
In general, non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime pay at 1.5x their current pay rate when they:
- Work more than 40 hours during a workweek, and
- Work more than 8 hours in any given workday, or
- Work double time.
Overtime pay should also be given for the first 8 hours of work on your seventh consecutive day in a single workweek. Additionally, You are entitled to double-time pay after 12 hours in a single workday or after four weeks of work without a single day off.
Certain employees are exempt from these overtime laws, including independent contractors, exempt employees, and those working under an alternative workweek schedule.
Minimum Wage Violations
California employers cannot pay less than the minimum wage. California has a state minimum wage, but some municipalities have set an even higher minimum wage. For example, the San Diego minimum wage was increased to $14/hour in 2021, up from $13 the previous year.
This minimum wage applies to all San Diego employers. Outside the city, the $14 minimum wage only applies to San Diego County employers with at least 26 employees. For smaller businesses, there is a $13/hour minimum wage.
Meal & Rest Break Violations
California employers must give specific rest and meal breaks as follows:
- A paid 10-minute rest break for every four hours of work during a shift
- An unpaid 30-minute meal break if a shift is longer than five hours
- A second unpaid 30-minute meal break if a shift is longer than 10 hours
You generally cannot be required to do any work during your break. If you must be on duty during a meal break, it must be paid.
It is not uncommon for employees to be misclassified as independent contractors. This may be unintentional, but employers often do this to reduce their costs. Independent contractors do not receive the same legal protections regarding overtime pay, meal and rest breaks, and other wage laws.
Employees may also be misclassified as exempt. An exempt employee receives a salary and is not entitled to meal and rest breaks or overtime pay. Employees are only considered exempt in specific scenarios.
Misclassified employees may have wage claims against their employers for unpaid wages, overtime, and breaks plus penalties.
Other Types of San Diego Wage Violations
Employers can violate California employment laws in many other ways, including:
- Prevailing wage violations for public works jobs
- Failing to reimburse workers for on-the-job expenses
- Failing to pay contracted hazard pay
- Failing to pay promised bonuses or commissions
- Illegal paycheck deductions
- Failing to pay owed wages same-day for involuntary termination or within three days after voluntary termination
- Failing to pay accrued vacation time after termination
- Failing to compensate for time spent walking to/from your workstation or putting on/taking off protective gear before clocking in or after clocking out
- Coercing or allowing employees to work off the clock
If you believe your employer has not paid you the full wages you are entitled to, a San Diego employment lawyer can help you.
How Do I Recover Unpaid Wages in San Diego?
When you are owed unpaid wages, you may begin by trying to resolve the problem informally with your employer.
If your employer continues to withhold the wages you are owed, you can take several legal actions, such as:
- A wage claim filed with a federal agency
- A wage claim filed with the California Labor Commissioner’s Office
- A wage and hour lawsuit against your employer
- Class action lawsuit if multiple employees were not paid full wages
Filing a California wage claim is generally the first step to pursue unpaid wages. After filing a wage claim, the Labor Commissioner’s Office investigates your claim and generally arranges a settlement conference with your employer. A hearing may be scheduled to make a decision if the issue is not resolved during the conference.
A wage claim through the DLSE is generally the fastest and simplest way to recover unpaid wages. However, it is not always the best solution. Your San Diego unpaid wages lawyer will help you determine if a wage and hour lawsuit is a more appropriate first step. Your lawyer will also help you assess whether your case qualifies for a class action lawsuit on behalf of many wronged employees.
A PAGA claim is different from a wage and hour lawsuit and allows you to seek different damages. If you have been subjected to at least one workplace violation, you can recover damages for all your employer’s violations, not just those that personally affected you.
Note that PAGA claims cannot be used to recover unpaid wages. Instead, they allow you to recover civil penalties against your employer which are shared between the state and all employees who were subjected to labor violations.
What Compensation is Available in a Wage and Hour Claim in San Diego, CA?
The damages you can recover will depend on the type of unpaid wages you are seeking.
However, you are generally entitled to at least:
- The unpaid wages you are owed
- Interest on the unpaid wages
- Reasonable attorney’s fees
You may also recover civil penalties. Your employer may be required to pay a $100 penalty for the first pay period with an intentional wage violation. Every subsequent pay period with a violation, even if unintentional, is subject to a $250 penalty.
Unless your employer can show the violation was a good-faith error, you may seek liquidated damages for violations of minimum wage laws. Liquidated damages are equal to the amount of your unpaid wages and interest.
Contact a San Diego Unpaid Wage Lawyer for a Free Consultation
When your employer fails to pay your wages, you should never feel that you have nowhere to turn. Ferraro Vega San Diego Employment Lawyers will help you pursue the wages and penalties you deserve and explore all legal remedies available to you.
You have nothing to lose by seeking experienced legal counsel. Contact our law office for a free consultation with a San Diego unpaid wage lawyer ready to help you.