Employers generally have a desire to retain as many profits as possible. Positive employers with no seedy underhanded dealings will pay their employees what they are worth, pay their taxes, and ensure that all regulations are met and followed.
Cumulative trauma is a type of injury that occurs over time, as the repetitive motion consistently creates strain. Did you develop carpal tunnel? Employees could develop CTS in a variety of workplaces, including retail jobs, warehouse jobs, office jobs, construction jobs, and driving jobs – practically anywhere where employees are making repetitive motions with their wrists.
Employer Liability for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Injury
However, greed is abundant in the working world, and many businesses try to do everything they can to eliminate loss of profits – even at the cost of isolating and targeting employees. They may violate various labor laws and place employees in danger in the worst cases, or, more commonly, specifically alter or mishandle salaries, wages, and working hours. If you feel that your working hours or pay has been manipulated or mishandled, you should take appropriate legal recourse. For more information on wage and hour laws, you can read on. Our law firm, Employment Attorney Group, supports workers’ rights first, and you can always call us if you have questions.
What are the laws regarding wages and work hours?
The general workweek consists of 5 days at 8 hours a piece, totaling 40 hours, with weekends off. This is the general labor code; some employers allow their workers to work 2 extra hours a day, totaling 10 hours across 4 days, to hit the mark, and have an extra day off. These scenarios do not require the employer to follow normal overtime hours, for example.
The California Labor Code relays the following regulations following wages and laws, which we will simplify:
Division 2, Employment Regulation And Supervision, Part 2, Working Hours, Chapter 1:
Section 510. (a) Eight hours of labor constitutes a day’s work. Any work in excess of eight hours in one workday and any work in excess of 40 hours in any one workweek and the first eight hours worked on the seventh day of work in any one workweek shall be compensated at the rate of no less than one and one-half times the regular rate of pay for an employee. Any work in excess of 12 hours in one day shall be compensated at the rate of no less than twice the regular rate of pay for an employee. In addition, any work in excess of eight hours on any seventh day of a workweek shall be compensated at the rate of no less than twice the regular rate of pay of an employee. Nothing in this section requires an employer to combine more than one rate of overtime compensation in order to calculate the amount to be paid to an employee for any hour of overtime work.
Key points here include the following:
- Workdays are 8 hours long
- Exceeding 8 hours in a day or 40 hours in a week results in overtime pay
- Alternate schedules are not required to adhere to these regulations
Section 511 (b) An affected employee working longer than eight hours but not more than 12 hours in a day pursuant to an alternative workweek schedule adopted pursuant to this section shall be paid an overtime rate of compensation of no less than one and one-half times the regular rate of pay of the employee for any work in excess of the regularly scheduled hours established by the alternative workweek agreement and for any work in excess of 40 hours per week. An overtime rate of compensation of no less than double the regular rate of pay of the employee shall be paid for any work in excess of 12 hours per day and for any work in excess of eight hours on those days worked beyond the regularly scheduled workdays established by the alternative workweek agreement. Nothing in this section requires an employer to combine more than one rate of overtime compensation in order to calculate the amount to be paid to an employee for any hour of overtime work.
Key points here include the following:
- Overtime will be 1.5x his wages if an employee works longer than 8 hours in a day or more than 40 hours in a week
- Overtime will be 2x his wages if he works in excess of 12 hours per day, or for any additional days beyond the scheduled week
- Overtime does not stack, so an employee cannot earn 3.5x as much if he works longer than 8 hours on a day he is not specifically scheduled
Section 512 (a) An employer shall not employ an employee for a work period of more than five hours per day without providing the employee with a meal period of not less than 30 minutes, except that if the total work period per day of the employee is no more than six hours, the meal period may be waived by mutual consent of both the employer and employee. An employer shall not employ an employee for a work period of more than 10 hours per day without providing the employee with a second meal period of not less than 30 minutes, except that if the total hours worked is no more than 12 hours, the second meal period may be waived by mutual consent of the employer and the employee only if the first meal period was not waived.
Key points here include the following:
- Any work day of over 5 hours must have a meal period of at least 30 minutes
- If the workday does not exceed 6 hours, the mandatory meal period can be waived if the employee and employer both agree
- Meal periods do not need to be paid by the employer
- Any worker who works over 10 hours of day is entitled to an additional meal period of at least 30 minutes
- If the workday does not exceed 12 hours, the mandatory meal period can be waived if both parties agree, but only if the first meal period was also not waived
It can be difficult to understand labor codes and regulations. You should be aware of what you are entitled to and what your employer tends to do to manipulate the system. If he routinely asks you to work through your meal period, for example, you can request that the time be compensated.
What do I do if my employer schedules me for more than 8 hours in a day?
What should I do if my boss doesn’t pay overtime?
Is mandatory overtime legal?
What should I do if my boss violates wage and hour laws?
If your boss does not adhere to the wage and hour laws, you should document the occurrences and proof. You can take pictures of your pay statements, record the hours you worked and the work you completed, write down the time you spent traveling to and from work, and more. You can also get statements and testimonies from coworkers who also worked the same amount that you did; if there are numerous individuals at your job who have wages that are being mishandled, your evidence will be more effective.
You can gather all of your evidence together and submit it to the DFEH (Department of Fair Employment and Housing). The DFEH will go over the evidence and potentially grant you a right to sue letter. You will have 300 days to file your complaint with the DFEH and a year to sue. However, if the intended target of your claim is a government entity, you will only have 90 days to sue.
What can I win from a lawsuit against my employer?
You can potentially win a fair amount of damages from your employer if you file a lawsuit citing wage and hour violations. You could win restitution fro lost wages that were not paid, such as overtime and double time hours. You could also get payments for the time you could not work because you were suspended or potentially fired. If you were terminated, you could be reinstated into your old job position.
However, many people avoid reinstatement because their bosses may continue to retaliate against them, only in more subtle ways, and will look for any reason to terminate them as time goes on.
You could also earn pain and suffering damages, which cover emotional anguish suffered in the ordeal, and punitive damages, which can be extracted from the employer if there was gross negligence or a deliberate intent to manipulate or mishandle your wages and hours.
The total amount of compensation that you can earn will likely be dependent on the quality of your attorney. It is highly recommended that you get legal representation to handle your case if you do not have any legal experience, you may not be able to win much, if anything at all.