Not so long ago, workers in the United States were subjected to long hours with very little pay, and they didn't have much choice in the matter if they wanted to feed their families. These days, the rules are different. In the state of California, employers must pay their employees at least a minimum wage, and they must also pay overtime if the employee works over a certain number of hours in one day, or over a certain number of hours in one week.
Some employers really don't want to pay that time-and-a-half for overtime, and they'll resort to some cheap tricks to try to get out of it. This may constitute wage theft, so make sure you watch out for things that violate your rights.
Last year, the National Restaurant Association filed a lawsuit against the federal Department of Labor (DOL). In the suit, National Restaurant Association et al v. U.S. Department of Labor et al, plaintiffs challenged the DOL's stance on the application of federal tip-credit restrictions to companies that don't take tip credits.
Many jobs have workers who have to sit around and wait to be called into work. This brings up the question about what an on-call worker can expect. The answer to this isn't always as easy as what it might seem. One area where there is a lot of question is whether these workers should be paid or not.
Imagine you're working 40-plus hours a week washing dishes for minimum wage. This is bad enough. You're barely making enough money to make financial ends meet. However, what if your employer was not paying the full amount of wages you've earned?
Let's say you went to work on time every day for the last three months in a row. You even worked a massive amount of hours in overtime. The problem is, while you were working, your employer refused to let you have periodic meal breaks and rest periods. You have been left exhausted and working under tough conditions.
Under the California Labor Code, hourly, salaried and commissioned employees are subject to different payment standards. However, there are some general guidelines that employers must follow, and failure to pay an employee at the appropriate time could lead to an unpaid wages claim.
Generally speaking, your employer is not allowed to deduct money from your paycheck. Some employers try to do this anyway, taking money for things like company uniforms and tips, but this is illegal.
Employees who are given cash tips often don't have much trouble collecting them promptly and without issue, especially if the tips are just left on tables for the specific employees, rather than put into centralized tip jars. However, customers are paying with credit cards more and more often in the modern day. These do have lines where tips can be written in, but they change the collection process.
If your employer offers a break schedule, then they usually have to pay you for short break periods that are under 20 minutes. Typically, employers might create policies that allow employees to take restroom, coffee or other breaks that last five to 15 minutes. These are not the same as lunch breaks.