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Did your employer withhold overtime pay for unauthorized hours?

As a worker who receives hourly wages, you undoubtedly try to make it to work as much as possible. Because those wages are so important to you, you do not want to do anything that could put you in line to receive a lower paycheck. You may wish you could have ample opportunity for extra pay through overtime, but the company for which you work may not allow unapproved or unauthorized overtime hours.

Of course, a situation may arise in which you cannot avoid working over your allotted 40 hours a week. You may worry that you will not receive your payment for those hours since you did not receive approval for overtime first. However, if you worked the hours, your employer must compensate you, and that compensation must come at a time-and-a-half rate.

Mandated under state law

Under California law, employers must provide their workers with overtime pay for any overtime hours worked. However, your employer must know that you stayed at work and completed those hours in order for you to be eligible for that additional pay. If you went out of your way to keep your boss from knowing you stayed to work in efforts to get more money on your paycheck, your employer may not have the obligation to pay you for those hours.

Though state law requires the payment of overtime hours, whether authorized or unauthorized, your employer could still carry out disciplinary action if you work unauthorized hours. Often, employers include their overtime policies in their employee handbooks, and if the policy indicates that no unauthorized hours are allowed, you could be in line for some type of disciplinary action.

Can your employer withhold your pay?

When it comes to punishment for unauthorized overtime, your employer cannot withhold your earned wages as a form of punishment. If he or she tries to deny you compensation for overtime or tries to pay you at a regular hourly rate rather than time and a half, that action could constitute wage theft.

Wage and hour violations are serious matters, and your employer's actions could prevent you from obtaining the full compensation you deserve. If the issue is not easily resolved, you may want to contact an employment law attorney about your options for obtaining that compensation and taking other measures to address the violations.

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