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California Overtime Law: Money Earned Is Money Earned

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Anaheim, CAEmployees who are not exempt from California overtime pay should be paid time-and-a-half for their hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a week. That is what overtime pay laws state. Unfortunately, employees are often classified as exempt from overtime pay, or their duties off the clock are not classified as “time spent working” so employees find themselves giving up more and more of their time for less and less pay.

In one recently filed lawsuit, Apple employees alleged they should have been paid for time spent having their bags checked after work and on unpaid breaks before they left the store. Those bag checks were carried out off the clock, so employees were not paid for the time spent waiting for and receiving the bag checks. But because the bag checks were done for the benefit of Apple - to prevent theft from the store - the lawsuit alleges employees should have been paid for that time; and for full-time employees, the extra time spent after shift and during breaks could constitute overtime pay.

Meanwhile, employees in California can sue their employer for unpaid wages, including overtime, under the Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (PAGA), which allows employees to file a lawsuit to collect penalties on the state’s behalf if the state does not investigate their complaints. That law was used by John Urbino to file a lawsuit against Orkin, alleging he was not paid for meal breaks or overtime for five years, Courthouse News Service (8/13/13) reports.

Court documents in the Urbino lawsuit note that under PAGA, if the Labor and Workforce Development Agency “declines to investigate or issue a citation for an alleged labor code violation, an aggrieved employee may commence a civil action on behalf of himself…” If that plaintiff wins his lawsuit, the employees receive 25 percent of civil penalties, while the LWDA receives 75 percent.

Awards under PAGA also allow for attorney’s fees to be collected, and can be filed for violations of any Labor Code regulations, including wage and hour laws, meal and rest break violations, and other Labor Code violations. Employees must satisfy certain requirements before filing a PAGA claim, including providing certain notices and waiting for a negative response from the Labor and Workforce Development Agency as to an investigation (the LWDA has 33 days to respond or the employee can file a lawsuit).

PAGA was instituted because of a lack of resources available to carry out investigations of all labor violation complaints.

The Urbino Lawsuit is Urbino v. Orkin Servs. Of California, Inc., No. 11-56944.

READ ABOUT CALIFORNIA OVERTIME LAWSUITS

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READER COMMENTS

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I worked for bio pest in Northern California and quit as he said paid 15 an hour but any driving to and from jobs was. Not at that same pay.... I eventually quit because of this .

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