Overtime Wages

Every worker in California, whether full-time, part-time or seasonal, is entitled to be paid at least minimum wage and overtime. But how do you know if your employer is actually paying you what he or she owes? And when do you need to hire an attorney to help enforce your rights? This article discusses the laws governing minimum wage and overtime in California.

What are the Minimum Wage and Overtime Requirements in California?

The minimum wage in California is $11.00 per hour, and the minimum rate for overtime is 1.5 times the regular rate for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek. Overtime laws are enforced by the California Labor Commissioner, whose website provides an overview of how to file a claim against an employer who has not paid you correctly.

When Can I File a Lawsuit for Unpaid Wages and Overtime?

If you believe that your employer has violated the law by failing to pay wages or overtime, you can file a lawsuit within two years of the date when you were wrongfully denied those wages. However, if your employer broke the law by denying overtime pay, then California has an even stricter time frame for filing a suit. In that case, you’ll need to file your lawsuit within three years of being wrongfully denied overtime.

In addition to state laws regarding wage theft and workers’ compensation cases, some cities in California have also enacted their own local ordinances protecting workers from being taken advantage of by unscrupulous employers. If this is true where you live or work in California—and if your situation merits legal action—make sure that any attorneys who represent you are familiar with all applicable laws before they begin representing you in court.

How Do I Enforce My Rights When My Employer Hasn’t Paid Me Properly?

If your employer has not paid you properly, you have several options for enforcing your rights. You can file a lawsuit in court and seek back pay, liquidated damages (double the amount of unpaid wages), interest, attorney’s fees and costs. You may also be able to recover penalties under California’s Labor Code

You can also file a complaint with the California Labor Commissioner or the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. If you are successful in recovering unpaid wages through these agencies, they may require your employer to pay an administrative fee but will not charge attorneys’ fees or costs like they would if you were to sue them in court.

When Should I Hire an Attorney to Help Me Get Unpaid Wages and Overtime?

If you have a legal issue that is more complicated than you can handle on your own, or if you need help enforcing your rights, it is important to hire an attorney.

If you find yourself in a situation where an employer has violated the law and refuses to pay what they owe or negotiate a fair settlement, then it might be time to hire an attorney.

That said, it is always best to first try negotiating with the employers yourself before turning to litigation as this may result in better results for you—and possibly even save money.

Every worker in California, whether full-time, part-time or seasonal, is entitled to be paid at least minimum wage and overtime.

In California, many employees are entitled to overtime pay. If you are a nonexempt employee and work more than 8 hours in a single day or 40 hours in a week, then you must be paid an additional 1½ times your regular hourly rate for each hour over the 40-hour workweek limit. You will also be entitled to double time (2 x regular hourly rate) if you work more than 12 hours in one day or more than 8 hours on any given seventh day of rest (Sunday). Some employers may want to avoid paying double time by scheduling employees’ shifts so that they never actually work longer than eight hours at a time; however, this practice is illegal under California labor laws and can result in penalties against the employer if it is discovered.

If your employer has violated wage and hour laws by failing to pay you minimum wage or overtime compensation as required by law—or both—you may have grounds for filing suit against them for back wages owed and other damages such as emotional distress.


If you think your employer is not paying you properly, then contact us immediately.