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Orange County Wage & Hour Attorney

If your employer has failed to perform their legal duties concerning your wages, our Orange County wage and hour lawyers at Aegis Law Firm can help you enforce your rights. We will fight for you to make sure you receive any compensation that is due to you.

Orange County Wage & Hour Lawyer

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Why Hire Aegis Law Firm for Your Orange County Wage & Hour Case?

  • At Aegis Law Firm, we will fight your case when others won’t.
  • For almost 20 years, our Orange County employment law firm has been helping real people in the compensation they deserve.
  • Our experienced and trial-tested advocates have secured over $300 million in verdicts and settlements for clients like you.

If you are in dispute with your employer over your wages, Aegis Law Firm can help you. Call us today at (949) 379-6250 for a free consultation and assessment of your case.

What is the Value of Your Unpaid Wages Case?

The value of an unpaid wages case can vary widely depending on several factors, including the specific wage violations, the number of affected employees, the duration of the violations, and the circumstances of the case. Generally, an unpaid wages case in California may include:

Back Wages

This is the primary component of an unpaid wages case. It includes the amount of wages that you should have been paid but was not due to wage violations.

Overtime Pay

If you were not adequately compensated for overtime hours worked, your settlement or verdict may include the additional 1.5 times the regular rate of pay for each overtime hour.

Liquidated Damages

In some cases, employees are entitled to liquidated damages, which is an additional amount equal to the back wages owed. This is meant to compensate for the delay in receiving the rightful pay.


Unpaid wages may accrue interest from the date they were due until they are paid.


California labor laws provide for penalties in certain situations of wage violations. For instance, failure to pay overtime can result in additional penalties.

Attorney’s Fees and Costs

If your case is successful, your employer may have to pay your wage and hour attorney’s fees and costs incurred during the legal proceedings.

If the wage violations affect a group of employees, your case may proceed as a class action, potentially increasing the overall value due to multiple plaintiffs involved.

What to Do If You Think You Have a Case?

If you believe you have an unpaid wages case, it is critical to take the following steps to protect your rights:

Gather Evidence

Collect all relevant documentation related to your employment and wages. This includes pay stubs, timecards, work schedules, employment contracts, emails, or any other records that can support your claim of unpaid wages.

Consult an Orange County Wage and Hour Attorney

Speak to an experienced Orange County wage and hour lawyer as soon as possible. They can assess the strength of your claim, guide you through the legal process, and provide valuable advice on what to do next.

Document Violations

Keep a detailed record of any ongoing wage violations, such as missed breaks or unpaid hours, which can help support your employment case.

File a Complaint

You can file a wage claim with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) or the federal Department of Labor (DOL), depending on the nature of your case. An attorney can help you with this process.

Keep Communication Records

Maintain records of any communication with your employer regarding the unpaid wages. This includes emails, letters, or any discussions you have had about the issue.

If you face retaliation, document these incidents as well. California law protects employees from retaliation for filing wage claims or asserting their rights.

Meals and Break Periods at Orange County Businesses

Here are the regulations for meals and break periods at Orange County businesses.

Meal Periods

California labor law requires employers to provide meal breaks to non-exempt employees who work a certain number of hours in a day. The requirements are as follows:

  • Employees who work more than 5 hours in a day must be given at least a 30-minute unpaid meal break.
  • If an employee’s total work hours in a day do not exceed 6 hours, the meal break may be waived by mutual consent of both the employer and employee.
  • Employees who work more than 12 hours in a day are entitled to a second 30-minute unpaid meal break.

It’s important to note that these meal periods should be provided no later than the end of the fifth hour of work for the first meal period and no later than the end of the twelfth hour of work for the second meal period.

Rest Breaks

Rest breaks are meant to give employees a short period to rest and recover during their shifts, and employers are obligated to provide these breaks to eligible employees.

  • Employees are entitled to a paid rest break of at least 10 minutes for every 4 hours worked.
  • The rest breaks should be scheduled in the middle of each work period, as practicable.

Workers who perform their duties outdoors have additional rights to take a break whenever needed to prevent heat illness and cool off in the shade.

The above regulations do not apply to exempt employees, such as some salaried workers. In addition, certain workers such as domestic or farm workers are covered by different meal and rest break laws.

Common Wage and Hours Issues in California

Some of the most common issues that workers deal with include:

Failure to Adhere to the Minimum Wage

California has a state minimum wage law that sets the minimum hourly wage that employers must pay to most employees. Failure to adhere to the minimum wage laws can occur in the following ways:

  • Paying Less Than the Minimum Wage: The most straightforward violation is when an employer pays employees less than the state-mandated minimum wage.
  • Not Increasing Wages with Minimum Wage Hikes: California gradually raises the minimum wage, and an employer may fail to adjust their employees’ wages accordingly with each scheduled increase.
  • Illegal Deductions: Employers might make unlawful deductions from employees’ wages, effectively bringing their earnings below the minimum wage.
  • Unpaid Training: If an employer requires employees to undergo training but does not compensate them at least the minimum wage during the training period, it can be a violation.
  • Tip Credit Violations: Some employers in specific industries, like restaurants, might improperly apply tip credits, resulting in employees receiving less than the minimum wage after accounting for tips.
  • Payroll Errors: Mistakes in payroll calculations or delays in issuing paychecks that result in employees not receiving at least the minimum wage for the hours worked.
  • Failure to Include All Compensable Time: Not considering all hours worked, such as travel time, on-call time, or waiting time, can lead to minimum wage violations.
  • Piece-rate Pay Violations: Certain industries pay employees based on the number of tasks completed (e.g., per piece, per job). If the total compensation divided by hours worked falls below the minimum wage, it can lead to violations.

Failure to Pay Overtime

Some common ways employers may fail to pay overtime include:

  • Improper Salary Basis: Even if an employee is correctly classified as exempt, they must meet certain salary requirements to be exempt from overtime. If the salary is below the minimum threshold, the employee should be eligible for overtime pay.
  • “Off-the-Clock” Work: Requiring employees to perform work-related tasks before or after their scheduled shifts without compensation or not counting certain work-related activities as billable hours.
  • Unauthorized Overtime: Some employers might discourage or prohibit employees from working overtime but still expect them to complete their tasks, leading to unpaid overtime.
  • Compensating Overtime with PTO: In some cases, employers may try to avoid paying overtime by offering paid time off instead. However, private sector employers generally cannot offer this trade off except under very specific circumstances.
  • Incorrect Overtime Rate: Overtime pay must be at least 1.5 times the employee’s regular rate of pay. If an employer miscalculates the overtime rate or pays a flat rate for overtime hours, it can lead to violations.
  • Shifting Hours Between Pay Periods: Employers may try to manipulate work hours across pay periods to avoid paying overtime.
  • Working Through Lunch or Breaks: Failing to provide required meal and rest breaks or requiring employees to work during those breaks without compensating them for that time can result in overtime violations.

Failure to Provide Rest or Meal Breaks

Here is how an employer might fail to comply with state labor laws regarding rest and meal breaks:

  • Failure to Provide Meal Breaks: In California, employees who work for more than 5 hours in a workday are entitled to an unpaid meal break of at least 30 minutes. If an employer does not provide the required meal break or pressures employees to work through their meal breaks, they are in violation of the law.
  • Failure to Provide Rest Breaks: Employees in California are entitled to a paid rest break of at least 10 minutes for every 4 hours worked (or a major fraction thereof). Employers may deny rest breaks or refuse to authorize and permit these breaks during the appropriate intervals.
  • Compensation in Lieu of Breaks: In specific situations where the nature of the work prevents employees from taking breaks, employers may provide compensation in lieu of breaks. However, it must be clearly communicated, and employees must agree to it voluntarily.
  • Inadequate Break Times: Scheduling short breaks that do not meet the required duration may constitute a violation.
  • Waiver Violations: While some employees can voluntarily waive their meal breaks under certain conditions, employers cannot coerce or force employees to do so.
  • Automatic Deductions: Employers cannot automatically deduct time for meal breaks without ensuring that the employees genuinely took uninterrupted breaks.
  • Working During Breaks: If employees are required to perform any work duties during their meal breaks or remain on-call, they must be compensated for that time, and it does not count as a proper break.
  • Non-Compliant Company Policies: Company policies that discourage or inhibit employees from taking breaks can lead to violations.

Misclassifying Employees

Misclassification occurs when employers classify workers as independent contractors or exempt employees when, according to California law, they should be classified as employees. Here is how misclassification can result in a wage and hour issue:

  • Unpaid Overtime: Misclassified employees who should be non-exempt may not receive overtime pay for hours worked beyond the regular workweek.
  • Unpaid Minimum Wage: Misclassified employees may not receive the state or local minimum wage.
  • Missed Meal and Rest Breaks: Misclassified employees may not be provided with the required meal and rest breaks.
  • Unreimbursed Expenses: Misclassified employees who should be treated as employees might not receive expense reimbursements, such as for business-related travel or equipment.
  • Lack of Benefits: Independent contractors typically do not receive employee benefits, such as health insurance, retirement contributions, or paid time off.
  • Wrongful Termination: Misclassified employees may be wrongfully terminated for asserting their rights as employees, such as filing a complaint about misclassification.
  • Payroll Tax Issues: Misclassification can result in employers not paying the required payroll taxes (e.g., Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance) for misclassified workers.

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What is the Minimum Wage in California?

The California minimum wage for employers with 25 or fewer employees is $14 per hour. For employers with 26 or more employees, it is $15 per hour. All employees in California, with the exception of the following must be paid the minimum wage:

  • Parents or children of the employer
  • Outside salespersons
  • Apprentices

All employees entitled to minimum wage must be paid at least the minimum wage. Employers and employees cannot enter an agreement for a wage that is less than the minimum.

Who is Entitled to Overtime?

Under California law, generally, employees cannot be employed for more than eight hours in any workday, or more than 40 hours in any workweek unless they receive overtime pay for any hours worked beyond that. 

By law, the rate of overtime pay is one and one-half times a person’s regular rate of pay for employees who work over eight hours in one day, or over 40 hours in the workweek. The rate of overtime pay increases to double the employee’s regular rate of pay if the employee works for more than 12 hours in any workday, and any hours worked in excess of eight on the seventh consecutive day of work in a workweek.

There are exceptions to the general overtime law. There are some employees for whom these overtime rates do not apply. They include: persons employed in healthcare, camp counselors, personal attendants employed by nonprofit organizations, ambulance drivers and attendants, live-in employees, and union employees. Persons employed in executive, administrative, professional, and other designated positions are also exempt from the general overtime rules.

If you are not sure whether you are entitled to overtime or what rate of overtime you are entitled to, you should speak with an Orange County wage and hour attorney who will help you understand your rights.

Employee Remedies for Wage and Hour Law Violations

If your employer violates the wage and hour laws of California, you may be entitled to legal remedies. Depending on the facts of your case, you may be entitled to compensation for your unpaid wages and overtime, interest payments on the amount wrongfully withheld by your employer, as well as attorney’s fees.

Contact an Orange County Wage and Hours Claim Lawyer

If you have worked without receiving regular or overtime pay, worked with no breaks, or worked for below the minimum wage, you should take action immediately. California law is on your side. Call the Aegis Law Firm for more information about how our Orange County wage and hour lawyers can help you get compensation for the damages you suffered. Your initial consultation is free, and you pay no fees unless we win.

Call us today at (949) 379-6250. Our law firm is located in Irvine and proudly serves all of California, including Orange County, Riverside, Los Angeles, San Diego and Sacramento. Aegis Law Firm is located in Irvine, off the Interstate 405 freeway near the Irvine Research Center.