Providing Support and Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the California minimum wage?

$9.00 per hour.  There are some local ordinances that provide higher minimum wage than California.

When do I get paid overtime?

Typically in California, if you work over 40 hours a week or over 8 hours a day, you must be paid overtime at the rate of 1.5 times your hourly rate. If you work more than 12 hours a day, you must be paid overtime at the rate of 2.0 times your hourly rate. If you work 7 days in a row, on the 7th day, you must be paid at the rate of 1.5 times your hourly rate for the first 8 hours and at the rate of 2.0 times your hourly rate for any hours after the first 8 hours for that day. If you work in the fields, overtime in California typically begins after 10 hours in a day have been worked.

Am I entitled to meal and rest breaks?

An employer must provide an employee with a 30-minute meal period no later than the end of an employee’s fifth hour of work and a second 30-minute meal period no later than an employee’s tenth hour of work.  Employers must also authorize and permit non-exempt employees to take a  10-minute paid rest break for each four hour work period, or major fraction thereof.  A rest period is not required for employees whose total daily work time is less than three and one-half hours. If the employer fails to provide the meal or rest period as provided in the applicable IWC Order, you can recover one additional hour of pay at your hourly rate each workday that the meal and/or rest period is not provided.  Thus, if you are not provided a meal and rest period in one work day as explained above, your employer may owe you two hours in wages (one hour for each violation).

If my employer did not pay me correctly but I am undocumented, can I still file a wage claim?

Yes.  If you are undocumented, California Labor Code § 1171.5 provides in part that immigration status is not relevant to an employee’s right to recover wages.  You have the right to minimum wage and overtime pay, rest and meal breaks and other wage and hour protections even if you do not have work documents.

What is wrongful termination?

While an employee can be terminated for any reason, right or wrong, terminations based on illegal factors give rise to a wrongful termination claim.  Wrongful termination  occurs when the decision to fire is motivated in substantial part by an impermissible reason. For example, unlawful  firing of a person based on his or her membership in a protected class such as race, national origin, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy, age, or disability, or for sexual harassment.  It is also wrongful termination for a person to be fired in retaliation for complaining about such discrimination or harassment, complaining about health and safety issues, and/or unpaid wages or other Labor Code violations.

Is it wrong to be fired for complaining about harassment or discrimination on the basis of sex, race, disability, national origin, gender, pregnancy, religion, age, color, medical condition or sexual orientation?

Yes. It is not legal for a person to be fired in retaliation for complaining of any type harassment or discrimination.  If this happened to you, you may have been wrongfully terminated and/or discriminated against and could be entitled to financial compensation.

Is it wrong to be fired because I complained about health and safety concerns?

It depends. Employers are obligated to keep their employees safe, so making a complaint regarding a health and safety concern may be protected.

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For questions about our practice, or to schedule a free consultation with an attorney, please call us at 415-989-8000 or contact us online to schedule your free initial consultation.