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West Coast Employment Lawyers is open 24/7 and fully operational during the COVID-19 quarantine. We are available to serve all of our personal injury clients, as well as potential new clients. Please feel free to contact us anytime.

Top Ranked

Employment Law Firm in California

Top Ranked

Employment Law Firm in California

Common Questions About Overtime In California


Overtime provisions in the state of California state that a nonexempt employee who is 18 years of age or older — or a minor employee who is 16 or 17 years of age and is not required to attend school, and/or is not prohibited by law from participating in the subject work — cannot be employed for more than eight hours in one workday or for more than forty hours in a workweek, unless that employee receives 1.5 times his or her regular pay rate for all hours that are worked over eight hours in a single workday and over 40 hours in a workweek.

Is An Employee Required To Work Overtime?

Can Salaried Employees Be Paid Overtime?

Is An Employer Obligated To Pay For Unauthorized Overtime?

When Do I Get Paid For My Overtime Hours?

What If My Employer Refuses To Pay My Overtime Wages?

What Happens Once I File A Wage Claim?

Is An Employee Required To Work Overtime?

Yes. For the most part, an employer can determine an employee’s work schedule. Further, under many circumstances an employer can discipline an employee when he or she refuses to work overtime. Discipline for refusing to work overtime can be severe enough to include termination

On the other hand, an employer cannot subject an employee to discipline if he or she refuses to work on the seventh day in a workweek. An employer may be subject to penalties for causing or coercing an employee to miss a day of rest. However, an employee who is completely aware of their entitlement to rest may choose not to observe a day of rest.

Can Salaried Employees Be Paid Overtime?

Possibly. It is only required for a salaried employee to be paid overtime unless he or she meets the test for exempt status, or unless he or she is specifically exempted from overtime by the provisions of the California Labor Code or one of the Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Orders which regulate hours, wages, and working conditions.

Is An Employer Obligated To Pay For Unauthorized Overtime?

Affirmative. California law requires that an employer must pay overtime — whether it was authorized or not — at the rate of 1.5 times the employee’s normal rate for any hours worked in excess of eight, up to and including twelve hours on a single workday, and for the initial eight hours worked on the seventh straight day in a workweek, and double the employee’s normal rate for any hours worked in excess of twelve hours in a workday and for any hours that were worked in excess of eight hours on the seventh straight day of work in a given workweek.

Further, an employer may choose to discipline an employee who violates their policy of overtime hours without proper authorization. On the other hand, California wage and hour laws mandate that an employee must be compensated for any hours worked, whether the employee was required to work those hours or not. 

However, an employee cannot intentionally keep an employer from knowing about the unauthorized overtime, and then later claim recovery for those wages. At the same time, an employer is responsible for maintaining accurate records and is required to pay for any work the employer allows to be performed.

When Do I Get Paid For My Overtime Hours?

Your overtime wages cannot be paid any later than the first payday for the next payroll period after the overtime wages were earned. (Labor Code Section 204)

What If My Employer Refuses To Pay My Overtime Wages?

If this is the case, you are entitled to either file a wage claim with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, or you may file a lawsuit against your employer to recover the lost wages. 

And if you no longer work for the employer who refused to pay your overtime wages, you are entitled to make a claim for the waiting time penalty pursuant to Labor Code Section 203.

What Happens Once I File A Wage Claim?

Once your claim has been filed with a local office of the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE), it will then be assigned to a Deputy Labor Commissioner who will — based on the circumstances of the claim — determine how to proceed. 

Initial action taken regarding your claim can be:

  • Referral to a conference.
  • Referral to a hearing.
  • Dismissal of the claim.

If a conference is held, both parties will be contacted by mail regarding the time, date, and location of the conference. A conference is then held to determine whether your claim is valid, and ideally, to decide whether your claim can be resolved without resorting to a hearing. As expected, if your claim cannot be resolved at the conference, the matter will usually be referred to a hearing.

During a hearing, all parties and witnesses will testify under oath and the entire proceeding will be recorded. Once the hearing concludes, an order, decision, or award (ODA) of the Labor Commissioner will be served on all parties.

Finally, the ODA may be appealed and each party will have the opportunity to present evidence and witnesses during trial. Any evidence and testimony presented at the Labor Commissioner’s hearing cannot be used as the basis for the court’s decision. If an employer appeals, DLSE may choose to represent an employee who is not financially able to afford counsel. 

What Can West Coast Employment Lawyers Do For You?

If you have made up your mind to take action, it is important to work with an attorney that specializes in cases like yours. The employment lawyers at West Coast Employment Lawyers have extensive experience handling wage and hour cases. We will work tirelessly to gather the facts, find and interview eyewitnesses, hire experts, and fight for your rights.

We work on a contingency basis, which means we only get attorney’s fees if we are able to recover for you. Our legal team is available 24/7 and will take care of your case from start to finish. For a free no-obligation consultation with an employment attorney in California, contact our office at 1-800-247-9235.


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