24 Mar Will the court will award attorney’s fees in an unpaid overtime case if an employer is in clear violation?
It is complicated because many violations have their own rules about being able to get attorney fees. Let’s take overtime, for instance: A benefit of California law and overtime claims is that it has a one-way fee shifting provision. If you’re an employee who is not getting paid overtime and you sue and win, you may be able to get attorney fees against your employer. If you lose and don’t get anything, your employer cannot go after you for attorney fees.
The idea behind the one-way fee shifting provision is that there is a public policy in place that employees should get paid for the work that they have performed, and they should get paid the amount that the law requires workers to be paid for the work that they’ve performed. If the employer could go after them for attorney fees, then employees would be scared to hold their employers accountable.
There is also something called the Private Attorney General Act or PAGA. PAGA basically deputizes citizens to recover penalties on behalf of the state of California. If you win, you can keep 75% of the penalties, and you pay the state 25% of the penalties that you recover. It covers may types of claim under the labor code including overtime and minimum wage. In any type of claim that may not provide for attorney’s fees on its’ own, the Private Attorney General Act would step in and entitle you to attorney fees.
If you believe that your employer has violated the California Labor Code, contact an employment lawyer today at the Khadder Law Firm for a free initial consultation.