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California Overtime Entitlement

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San Jose, CAMike Morgan (not his real name) was promoted from an hourly part time job to a new "fill-in" position as video-conferencer: a gray area, somewhere between part-time and full time. But his employer did make it clear that Morgan was exempt and therefore not entitled to overtime. However, the California Labor Law states that he is entitled to overtime compensation.

Morgan worked for a contracting company (let's call it company A) and provided his services to [company B]; he was classified as 'staff augmentation'—filling in to do video-conferencing. No management from his contracting company A was on site. Staff augmentation meant that a position is not available on part time or full-time basis, although I was working full time.

"The contracting company I worked for said all employees were exempt based upon the job we performed—we work in the IT field," says Morgan. "But I was putting in 12-17 hour days and only paid 40 hours per week regardless the hours work. When I started this job just after Thanksgiving, last year, I was told verbally by my contractor that it would be a 40-hour week.

Video ConferencingMorgan was better off in his part-time position, getting an hourly wage. When he transferred to full time from part time, they put him on salary, and said he was exempt, but he would receive benefits. However, the amount of hours he worked meant little more than minimum wage.

"In January I started putting in longer hours," says Morgan. "It was a small department at the time and the job had to be done. The need for video-conferencing was growing but they didn't hire any more employees. We needed more people to come in so they gave me a lead position that had no supervisory authority. I couldn't write anyone up, couldn't discipline anyone, no management responsibilities.

"As more people were hired, I still ended up working long hours, up to the point of pulling a 20-hour day. As more staff came on board, they decided to go from staff augmentation to managed services: where both companies [A&B] both agree to have company A bring in a manager and everything is handled by that company and that manager. When that happened, things started going downhill.

No longer did company B have any control over the staffing of company A. They could bring in whoever they wanted—we had a lot of unskilled labor. And they decided to over-staff with the caveat that, knowing they were overstaffed, would also terminate employees. They brought in people from Canada, all over the US, to move here and perform this job function. These new people didn't know that, if someone didn't even like them, there were all kinds of reasons, they would be fired—but that's another lawsuit.

The main core staff of the contracting company got together and was going to make a proposal to the CEO-we wanted a new management team. Unfortunately, one of the full time employees of company B informed one of their managers who then informed manager of company A that this was happening. In order to dissuade what was going on, I was terminated—without getting paid any overtime.

First I went online to your site. Then I saw one of your attorneys and he told me I should go to the labor commission. I had all my documentation: hours and days worked. I filed for all my overtime and double time. The attorney informed me of the penalties-waiting time penalties which include your daily wages per day up until 30 days from the day you file, including weekends.

The commission advised me to contact the company and let them know I filed a claim. I sent them an email detailing everything including time unpaid and paid, was not exempt and should never have been classified as exempt and they need to pay me my overtime wages.

I got an email back: the contracting company considered me exempt because I was in a lead position in a supervisory role, blah blah. They offered me a portion of the amount I wanted to settle.

'No,' I replied. Their facts were incorrect and I wasn't about to settle for anything less. I wanted what was legally owed me. I wanted money owed and would settle for half the waiting time if they settled within three days.

They paid me.

Then I talked to my co-workers. Some of them are afraid to file, afraid of retaliation, afraid of losing their jobs.

My attorney also told me that there cannot be any repercussions for them filing a complaint. If so, there will be bigger penalties. I figured I would let my complaint about wrongful termination go. That's fortunate for the company."

READ ABOUT THIS LAWSUIT

California Overtime Legal Help

If you work in California and you feel that you are owed overtime pay, please contact a lawyer involved in a possible [California Overtime Lawsuit] who will review your case at no cost or obligation.

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