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Employer’s Three Strikes for California Overtime Violations

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San Diego, CAKathy and her co-workers believe they are entitled to California overtime for three reasons. If Kathy’s allegations are correct, her employer needs deep pockets to compensate for a number of labor law violations.

Kathy works as a line operator and she is required to wear safety and sanitation gear. “We have to come in 10 minutes before our shift starts to dress in a smock and boots and sanitize our hands,” she says. Of course time is also spent at the end of their shifts removing the gear. Time spent preparing for and finishing work, or donning and doffing, is compensable, according to the California Labor Law.

“We aren’t allowed meal breaks until we have worked for five hours. Aren’t we supposed to get a 30-minute lunch break after working four hours?” Kathy asks. According to the California labor code, an employee who works for more than five hours per day must receive a meal break of not less than 30 minutes so her employer is correct. But under California law every worker is entitled to a 10-minute break for every four hours worked. Kathy was almost correct. And she is owed overtime for missing breaks.

And Kathy’s third overtime question is whether she is entitled to double time after working 12 hours. Kathy tried calling the California Labor Commissioner’s Office during her lunch break but says she was put on hold, which didn’t give her much time to get out and back into her gear. And eat lunch. “I talked to HR at work and they said we get paid time and a half up to 16 hours, and she also said they are following the labor code,” says Kathy.

Wage and hour attorney David Yeremian said that employers must pay double the employee’s regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 12 in any workday. “And whether authorized or not, California law requires that employers pay overtime at the rate of one and one-half times the employee’s regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of eight up to and including 12 hours in any workday, and for the first eight hours of work on the seventh consecutive day of work in a workweek.”

Kathy and her co-workers have filed an overtime claim against her employer.


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