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California Overtime Choice: get fired or shut up

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"My manager said he didn't pay overtime to salaried employees. But this is the kicker: If I was salary, why did I have to fill out a time card?

"We had to lie on our time cards to keep our jobs," says Jennifer Luna of Stockton, CA. Luna worked at Premiere Home Loans as a loan processor and was later promoted to loans officer. She worked there for almost three years. Soon after she complained to management about unpaid overtime, Luna was fired.

"When I was first hired, I had to fill out a form each week that was a check list of days worked. It didn't state hours of work. But after about six months, the form changed. Everyone had to fill out these forms. We had to write times in and out, but always had to stick to an eight-hour day, no matter how many hours we worked. In other words, we had to lie about our hours worked.

Management said they don't pay overtime, but if I stayed two hours later in the evenings, I could come in a few hours later another time. That never happened.

People got into trouble if they didn't complete their tasks so we had no choice but to stay later in the day. Well, we did have a choice - get fired. If we fell behind, we would lose our jobs. In my office, the juniors were getting paid overtime but six of us, the senior loans officers, weren't. We were told that the juniors were allowed to get overtime because they had to help us.

I confronted my manager several times, and on a few occasions I put on my time card that I left at 6pm, not 5pm as instructed. She called me into her office and said that was not allowed. She told me I could take a day off but again, that never happened. Instead, she said that management really appreciated me staying later.

I eventually got fired: their reason was fraud, but it was really because I was trying to get other people to confront them with the overtime issue. Anyway, they saw an error on my file, but I had three juniors working under me, and it could have been anyone. They fraudulently said that I was defrauding them!

I said OK, I would leave because I had already had enough with this firm. I was stressing out; my face broke out in acne. So I just cleared my desk and left.

I worked five days a week, 4-6 hours overtime each week, not including working at home. I calculate that the company owes me thousands of dollars.

My Mom saw how much I was working and pointed out to me that it was against the law - they had to pay me overtime. I have no proof, according to my time cards, that I worked more than eight hours a day, other than people seeing me there. If we had all stuck together, management would have no choice but to pay us.

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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] to review your case at no cost or obligation.

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