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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. For more, follow us on Twitter and Instagram....

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20 Mar Paying for overtime claims

Many people express concern about paying for overtime claims. Unfortunately, it often doesn’t make economic sense for a lawyer to take on wage and hour claims. Such claims generally smaller and cost more than they are worth. But there is still hope. Fortunately, there are a few ways you can still vindicate your rights, even if your claim is not that big. The first, is that you can go directly to the California Labor Commission to file a wage claim with them. It’s an expedited process so it’s usually faster than going to court. Moreover, it doesn’t cost you anything and you don’t need a lawyer.   Pursuing a class action claim is another option. When there is a class action claim for overtime of minimum wage or other wage and hour issues, then lawyers have much bigger economic incentive to get involved. Consequently, that would be a way to go vindicate your wage and hour rights.   Another possible avenue is if you have additional claims against your employer. For example, you may may have claims for discrimination, harassment or retaliation along with your wage and hour claims. In that case, the lawyer would probably be more likely to get involved because the harassment, retaliation or discrimination claim would make the case more lucrative. Obciously, this provides  an incentive for the lawyer to take on the case. While they’re at it, they’ll just add on the wage and hour violation claims as well.   Finally, the the labor code provides for attorney's fees for some overtime claims. If you prevail on such a claim, the employer will have to pay for your attorney's fees. This incentivizes attorneys to take your case. If you believe you have a wage and hour claims, contact the Khadder Law Firm today for a free consultation. For more, follow us Twitter and Instagram....

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unscheduled work days and overtime

20 Mar Unscheduled Work Days and Overtime

People often ask about unscheduled work days and overtime. How do unscheduled work days and overtime work. Does working an unscheduled shift entitle you to overtime pay? The answer depends on your schedule. Unfortunately, the mere fact of working an unscheduled day does not, by itself, entitle you to overtime pay. But, if that unscheduled shift pushes you over a certain threshold, you will be entitled to overtime pay. California law considers any work more than 8 hours in a day to be overtime. So if you work 9 hours in a day, you're entitled to 1 hour of overtime pay. Likewise for more than 40 hours in a week. So if you work 41 hours in a week, you're entitled to 1 hour of overtime pay (more if you worked more than 8 hours on any day). If you have worked 40 hours, Monday through Friday, and then you are required to come in on Saturday, and you are a non-exempt employee, then you're entitled to overtime pay for Saturday. This isn't because you worked a day you weren't scheduled tow work. Instead, it's because you worked over 40 hours in that week. But, if you haven’t worked 40 hours in week, from Monday through Friday, and you have to come in on a Saturday, then as long as it’s under 8 hours or has not exceeded 40 hours in a week, total, then you would just be entitled to your standard pay. If your employer has failed to pay you overtime pay that you've earned, contact the Khadder Law Firm today for a free consultation. For more, follow us on Twitter and Instagram....

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Work breaks and meals

17 Mar Work Breaks and Meals

California law provides for work breaks and meals for non-exempt employees. Your employer must provide rest and meal breaks depending on how long you work. The labor code provides for a paid 10 minute break for each 4 hours of work. Additionally, the labor code provides for a 30 minute meal break. This kicks if you're working at least 8 hours. Critically, the meal break doesn't count as a rest break. For example, let's take the typical 8-hour shift. Because you work for 8 hours, the law requires your employer to give you a 30 minute meal break at some point. Additionally, you still get two paid rest breaks of ten minutes each, one for each 4 hours you work. Unfortunately, employers regularly fail to abide by these requirements. This is particularly true in the service industry. For example, during the holiday shopping seasons, retail managers may push employees to work through breaks or meal periods during busy times. If you have questions about work breaks and meals, you should contact an employment attorney. You may have a claim against your employer if it has not provided you with breaks and meal periods as required by law. If your employer has failed to provide you with meal or rest breaks, contact the Khadder Law Firm today for a free consultation. For more, follow us on Twitter and Instagram....

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What's an independent contractor

12 Mar What’s an independent contractor?

What's an independent contractor? Put simply, someone that does work for an employer, but is not an employee. Unlike employees, who have an employment contract with their employers, independent contractors are not technically part of the company or organization for which they're doing work. Instead, they simply have a contract in which they agree to do certain work for that company or organization. Presumption against independent contractor status California law presumes that if you’re working for somebody, you are an employee. Accordingly, the employer bears the burden to prove that you are not an employee.  Even if your contract says you're an independent contractor, that doesn't mean you're properly classified as an independent contractor. Courts consider a number of factors in determining whether someone is an independent contractor or an employee. If most of the factors show someone is an employee, they are legally an employee, regardless of what the contract says. What's an independent contractor? The main factor is level of control Courts look at many factors, but level of control is the main factor. In other words, what's the extent of the employer’s right to control the manner and means of the employee’s performance? If the employer exercises control over the person in terms of the manner and means of performing their job, then they are more likely an employee as opposed to an independent contractor. For example, if you hire an electrician to rewire your house, you're probably not micromanaging their work. You tell them what you want done, but you don't tell them what tools to use or how to manage their time. This type of relationship is typically not employer-employee. Conversely, if a company hires someone and tells them when and where to be during work hours, what they should be doing, and how to do it, he's probably an employee. Nature and length of the relationship Some of the other factors to consider are whether the hiring entity can terminate the employment relationship at will. If they can, this suggests it's an employer-employee relationship. Also, whether the worker is engaging in an occupation or business that is distinct from the employer’s business or occupation. For example, say a law firm hires somebody to do IT work for it here and there. That is a distinct business from the employer (meaning the law firm’s business). This would probably favor characterizing the IT person as an independent contractor. Conversely, suppose you're a salesperson at a shoe store. Their business is selling shoes and your job is selling shoes. That your job is a core part of their business makes it more likely that you're an employee. Courts also consider the length of time over which someone performs the work. If you hire someone for a few hours of work, they're probably not an employee. But if you hire someone to do that same thing every day for a year, that's different. The worker's authority also comes up. If you can hire and fire others, then you're probably an employee. Another issue to consider is how the employer pays. Do they pay an hourly rate? A regularly salary? Or per job? For example, take that IT professional. If she's paid for each computer that she sets up, this might favor being characterized as an independent contractor. Conversely, if the law firm paid her a certain amount every month to run their IT, that would make it more likely that she is an employee. Type of work and skill involved There's also the worker's skill. If you’re an IT professional and you’re coming in and setting up a computer for a business you're likely an independent contractor. That's because you're likely doing it without any supervision or direction by the company that has hired you. Another factor is the skill that’s required to perform the work. Also, whether the business provides the instrumentalities, tools, and place of work. For instance, if you do landscaping or cleaning services, and you bring your own cleaning or landscaping tools, and you do it at the hirer’s residence or place of business, then you might be considered an independent contractor. If a contract says you're independent contract, it doesn't necessarily mean you are. But courts will consider that. If the parties believe they are creating an employment relationship, or if they believe they are creating an independent contractor relationship, then that fact is also used in determining whether you should be an independent contractor or an employee. If you believe that your employer has wrongfully classified you as an independent contractor, contact the Khadder Law Firm today for a free initial consultation. For more, follow us on Twitter and Instagram....

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