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Cut Overtime Violations in California

For many employees, overtime is a way to increase their take-home pay and demonstrate their overall value to the company. At the same time, there are certain trade-offs. Spending so much time at work can take a toll on any employee, causing burnout or problems at home. Still, many employees in California utilize the benefits of working overtime.

Unfortunately, one of the most common violations of California’s wage and hour laws is when your employer cuts your overtime. This, obviously, can have a profound impact on you and your family. It’s important to realize that overtime pay is protected under the law, but having access to these hours can sometimes be taken away for unlawful reasons.

Experienced Support From California Employment Lawyers

At Maison Law, we understand how important overtime pay can be to you and your family. Going to work, especially for long hours, requires a level of commitment that any business would love to have. But unfortunately, this commitment is sometimes exploited by your employer.

Our team of experienced California employment lawyers can help you if you find yourself in this situation. We’ll provide you with legal support and guidance to make sure you get the pay you deserve. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation to learn more.

California Law and Overtime Pay

Under the California Labor Code, there are strict overtime pay laws that are designed to protect employees who work more than 8 hours in a day or 40 hours in a week. Here are some key points about California overtime pay laws:

  • Overtime pay rate – California law requires employers to pay non-exempt employees one and a half times their regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 8 hours in a day or 40 hours in a week. For all hours worked over 12 hours in a day, employees must be paid double their regular rate of pay.
  • Exempt vs. non-exempt – Certain employees, such as those in executive, administrative, or professional positions, may be exempt from overtime pay requirements. However, to be exempt, employees must meet certain salary and job duty requirements.
  • Alternative workweek schedules – In some cases, employers may establish alternative workweek schedules that allow employees to work longer shifts without incurring overtime pay. However, these schedules must be properly established and meet certain legal requirements.
  • Record-keeping requirements – Employers are required to keep accurate records of all hours worked by employees, including overtime hours. These records must be kept for at least 3 years.

Obviously, there are certain requirements in place that govern overtime pay. However, there are no regulations in place that govern whether or not your employer offers overtime opportunities. Thus, it’s important to understand the circumstances that surround your access to overtime opportunities–especially if your employer cuts them.

When Can My Employer Cut My Overtime in California?

While California employers are legally required to pay you or other employees overtime when they work past the hour threshold during a day or week, there are certain situations where your employer can cut your access to these opportunities for legitimate, above-board reasons. These can include:

  • Business needs – In some cases, an employer may need to cut overtime hours or pay due to changing business needs or economic conditions. For example, if a company is experiencing financial difficulties, it may need to reduce overtime to cut costs.
  • Lack of work – Another reason an employer may cut overtime hours or pay is if there is not enough work available to justify the additional hours. In these situations, the employer may ask employees to reduce their overtime hours or may reduce the overall amount of overtime available.

Unlawful cutting of overtime

There are certain unlawful reasons that your employer cannot use to cut your access to overtime in California, including:

  • Discrimination – Your employer cannot reduce your access to overtime opportunities or pay on the basis of your race, gender, religion, national origin, disability, age, or any other protected characteristic.
  • Retaliation – Another common form of cutting overtime happens in retaliation for your engaging in a protected activity, such as filing a complaint about wage and hour violations or participating in a labor union.
  • Contract violations – If you have a written employment contract or collective bargaining agreement, it could require the payment of overtime. If this is the case, your employer cannot reduce your overtime pay without violating the contract.
  • Misclassification – One of the most common forms of cutting overtime happens when your employer misclassifies you as exempt from overtime pay when you are actually non-exempt. As a non-exempt employee, your employer cannot reduce your overtime pay.
  • Illegal practices – When your employer forces you to work off the clock or alters your timecard to get around paying you overtime, they will have clearly violated California’s overtime pay laws.

Like any other violation of your workplace rights, when your overtime pay is cut for any of the above reasons, you have the right to take legal action against your employer. However, you should only do so after consulting with our team of experienced California employment lawyers. We can guide you through the process and help you assess your options.

What Should You Do If Your Overtime Has Been Cut in California?

Obviously, having your overtime cut can be extremely frustrating, especially if your employer is doing so for illegal reasons. At the same time, taking action against your employer requires proof. The first step would be seeking legal advice from our team of employment lawyers who can help you understand your legal options and represent you in negotiations or legal proceedings.

Generally, though, it’s important to take the following steps if you believe that your overtime opportunities are being illegally cut by your employer:

  • Document the hours you have worked – Probably the most important thing you can do is keep a record of your work hours, including the time you clock in and out, the days you work, and the overtime hours you have worked. This, along with your paystubs and work schedules, can definitively show that your overtime opportunities or pay have been cut by your employer
  • Talk to your employer – Schedule a meeting with your employer to discuss why your overtime hours have been cut. Be sure to bring your documentation and any evidence that supports your claim. This will put them on notice and require them to take action to remedy the situation. If they refuse, you can use that as evidence of retaliation.
  • File a complaint – If you believe your employer has violated California overtime laws, you can file a complaint with the California Labor Commissioner’s Office or the U.S. Department of Labor, the agencies responsible for enforcing wage and hour laws. You can also file a lawsuit against your employer, where if you’re successful, you can recover these unpaid or lost wages.

Remember, it’s illegal for your employer to retaliate against you for complaining about overtime violations or filing a complaint. In any case, it is important to act quickly and carefully if you believe your overtime hours have been cut unlawfully. The sooner you take action, the more likely you are to protect your rights and recover any lost wages.

Contact Maison Law Today To Protect Your Rights

Overtime pay is a great benefit to working in California. It can give you financial stability, provide a better life for you and your family, and a sense of contribution to the business. However, while overtime pay is legally mandated, not every employer is concerned with treating you fairly. Most of the time, they’re looking to save money any way they can, even if it means exploiting your efforts.

At Maison Law, we understand how frustrating this can be. We’re passionate about protecting your rights and the rights of every other worker in California. If you believe your employer is illegally cutting your overtime, don’t hesitate to contact us today for a free consultation. We can help you hold your employer accountable.

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