24 Mar Attorney’s fees and overtime cases
People often ask about attorney’s fees and overtime cases. The California law that allows you to sue your employer for unpaid overtime has a one-way fee shifting provision. If your employer doesn’t pay you overtime you’ve earned, you can sue them. If you win, you may be able to collect attorney’s fees from the employer in addition to the unpaid overtime. But if you lose, your employer cannot go after you for attorney fees. That’s how the one-way fee shifting works.
One-way shifting of attorney’s fees and overtime cases
There’s a simple logic behind the one-way fee shifting provision. It is California public policy that employees should get paid for the work that they’ve performed. Because most unpaid overtime claims are not that large, lawyers would be hesitant to take them if all they could only collect part of their client’s recovery. Accordingly, allowing employees to collect fees to pay their attorney makes these claims worthwhile for attorneys. But the possibility of paying for defendant’s attorney’s fees would deter employees from suing. Therefore, this rule only goes one way to further incentivize employees to sue for unpaid overtime.
Attorney’s fees and the Private Attorney General Act
There is also something called the Private Attorney General Act or PAGA. The PAGA basically deputizes citizens to recover penalties on behalf of the state of California. If you win, you can keep 75% of the penalties. You then pay the state the remaining 25%. The PAGA covers many types of claim under the labor code, including overtime and minimum wage. If you have a claim that doesn’t include attorney’s fees, be able to sue under the PAGA and get fees that way.
If you believe you have a claim for unpaid overtime, contact the Khadder Law Firm today for a free consultation.