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Technician Entitled to California Overtime?

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Orange, CATim alleges that his former employer violated California Labor Laws, including overtime and fraud. "I would love to be compensated for my overtime hours worked but my main objective is to deal with this fraud," says Tim, who was terminated in May of this year.

"I am a technician and drove the company van to and from work," Tim explains. "I always started my day at home, officially at 7:00 a.m. on the clock, but in reality I had to start from 30 minutes to two or even three hours earlier, on a daily basis.

"This is how I would start my day: My route is submitted through the company computer, so every morning I download my route (including having to MapQuest each customer) and start to process it??"call customers, give them time frames, etc. And the company sends emails about customers that I must also answer??"so there is all this work on your plate before you leave the house. But my employer expects me to see my first customer at 8:00 a.m."

However, Tim says he didn't keep records of overtime hours worked, nor did he submit these early morning overtime hours to the company. As for proof that he worked these hours, Tim had to log on to the company computer at 6:00 a.m. or earlier so he believes that records are kept. "I have done a lot of work for this company off the clock that they are not aware of," he adds. "I was paid an hourly wage and I did submit overtime hours on the clock and I was paid for those hours, but my biggest issue is the hourly wage..."

Why didn't Tim ask for overtime? For the same reason as countless employees who fear retaliation. "At the time, asking for overtime would have generated a reprimand from the company," says Tim, "I was terminated in May of this year and the overtime hours worked were between 2007 and 2009. I had the California Labor Commissioner's Office tell me there is a three-year statute of limitations to claim overtime compensation, and if fraud is committed by the employer, it could go to four years. I definitely know fraud was committed regarding wage and hour violations, and without my knowledge. I didn't find out until I was terminated and asked for a copy of my personnel file.

"When I was hired, my employer verbally offered me an hourly wage which I accepted; I was offered $23 per hour but I got $22 per hour. So I confronted my manager and he said they would look into it and he also recalled the amount we agreed on. I spoke with him again 30 days after I was hired about the problem??"when I got my first paycheck. The hiring manager said he would look at his notes and we left it at that. I just went back to work, did my job, lived my life.

"A few months went by. I got a review with a raise, which appeased me a bit so I dropped the $1 less per hour issue and kept working: From May 2007 until March 2009, I worked for this lesser wage.

"The big problem is my personnel file, which includes a 'Job offer information form.' It has my hourly rate of pay ($22 per hour) and at the bottom of the form, a place for my signature. I never saw this form yet there is my signature. My signature was forged, as were the dates. It is nowhere near close to my signature. So I figure my hiring manager got off the phone with me that day, pulled out my file and forged my signature. Of course I want to claim overtime compensation, but more than that, I would like an attorney to look into this fraud issue…"

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