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Los Angeles Unpaid Overtime Lawyer

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California employees work to support themselves, their family, and their way of life. They deserve fair and accurate compensation for the work and time they spend. Overtime work is essential for many employees to maintain their life. Unfortunately, some employers fail to properly compensate their employees or even deliberately underpay their employees to attempt to lessen their costs. This is a violation of employee rights. An employee’s right to overtime pay, along with other workers’ pay protections, is enforced under state and federal employment law. When a Los Angeles, CA employer fails to meet the standard of these labor laws, they can be held accountable.

If you are misclassified as an exempt worker, or your employer isn’t counting all your hours, you may be missing out on overtime pay that you deserve. Overtime pay violations and other wage and hour violations mean you can file a complaint, which may enable you to file a civil claim against your employer. This process is more efficient and more likely to succeed when you work with an experienced Los Angeles employment law attorney.

Work With a Qualified Los Angeles Attorney

Many employees faced with wage violations fear that they may be fired or treated badly if they file a claim about wage theft. Retaliation is illegal, but this isn’t comforting to employees who have already had their rights violated. An experienced employment lawyer can help you understand your circumstances, the legal paths available to you, and how likely it is that your claim will succeed. An attorney will also be able to help you protect your rights in case of retaliation and ensure that you know what needs to be documented to defend yourself.

At the Shirazi Law Firm, PC, our attorneys want to help you get the compensation you deserve. We have handled employment law claims for wage and hour violations, discrimination, retaliation, and wrongful termination claims. Many employees considering a wage theft claim worry that the time and stress of filing a claim will be more expensive than the compensation a claim would earn them. Our attorneys can help you determine the extent of damages available to you, which is often more than employees expect. We help make the process of filing a complaint and claim more straightforward and less stressful. We understand how frustrating it can be to face wage violations, and we want to hold your employer accountable and obtain the wages and other damages that you deserve.

Overtime Pay Laws in Los Angeles

Both state and federal labor laws outline protections for employees and the wages they are entitled to for overtime work. An employer must pay a nonexempt employee one and a half times their regular rate of pay:

  • When the employee works over 8 hours in one workday
  • When the employee works over 40 hours in one workweek
  • For the first 8 hours on the seventh consecutive workday in a week the employee works

An employer has to pay a nonexempt employee twice their usual rate of pay when the employee works:

  • Over 12 hours in a workday
  • Over 8 hours on the seventh consecutive workday in a workweek

California has exceptionally strong employee protections. Employers do not have to require overtime work to owe employers overtime pay. If the employer permitted an employee to work overtime, then they owe that employee compensation for the hours worked.

What Employees Are Exempt From Overtime Pay?

Nonexempt employees must be paid overtime wages, but exempt employees do not. It can sometimes be tricky to determine if an employee is nonexempt or exempt from overtime pay. There is a misinterpretation that all salaried employees are exempt from overtime labor laws, which is not true. There are specific job duties, employee roles, and salary amounts that an employee has to meet to be considered exempt. An exempt employee cannot file a claim against their employer for overtime violations.

California law classifies exempt employees as:

  1. Those who work in an administrative, managerial, or professional role
  2. Those in the computer software field who are paid an hourly wage and perform in a managerial or professional role
  3. Any employee employed by the state, city, or county
  4. Outside salespersons, meaning the employee spends more than half their working hours away from their employer’s place of business to sell goods or services
  5. An employee who is the parent, child, legally adopted child, or spouse of the employer
  6. Those in national service programs
  7. Airline employees working between 40 and 60 hours at their request
  8. Taxicab drivers
  9. Drivers regulated by Title 49 of the U.S. Department of Transportation Code of Federal Regulation and those regulated by Title 13 of the California Code of Regulations
  10. Employees with different overtime and wage requirements under a collective bargaining agreement
  11. Those on commercial fishing boats
  12. A radio or TV media announcer, news editor, or chief engineer in towns with a population under 25,000
  13. Those who are motion picture projectionists

If you aren’t sure whether you are an exempt employee or not, review your case with a legal professional who understands how employment law applies to your job and circumstances.

Common Violations for Unpaid Overtime

Many employees suffer from wage and hour violations, especially those who work long or unreliable hours. Some of the most common ways that employers avoid paying overtime they owe include:

  • Misclassifying nonexempt employees as exempt, which may also result in rest and meal break violations as well as overtime violations
  • Allowing employees to waive overtime, which they are not allowed to do
  • Not counting hours or having employees work hours off the clock to avoid paying overtime
  • Excluding rest breaks from the hours an employee worked

If you believe you have faced an overtime wage violation, you need an experienced Los Angeles overtime violation attorney.

Do I Need an Employment Attorney for Overtime Violations?

You are not required to have an attorney to file an employment complaint or claim, but it does make the process much easier on you. An experienced employment attorney has filed complaints with state and federal agencies before, knows the pertinent laws, and has the information and evidence that makes a strong claim. Your attorney improves the chances that your complaint will be approved and the chances that your civil claim will obtain the compensation you need.

Overtime Wages Employment Law FAQs:

Q: Is Unpaid Overtime Legal in California?

A: No, unpaid overtime is not legal in California. Whether or not an employee is required to work overtime hours, they must be compensated for those hours. In California, overtime is paid when an employee works more than 8 hours in a workday and for the initial 8 hours worked on the seventh day of work in a workweek. If an employer is not compensating an employee for overtime worked, they can file a labor complaint or a civil claim against their employer.

Q: What Is the Penalty for Unpaid Overtime in California?

A: If an employee isn’t provided with their full paycheck on the date they are meant to receive it, an employer can face late wage penalties. This includes the failure to pay an employee at least minimum wage and the failure to include vacation wages or overtime wages. A first violation of Labor Code 204 results in a penalty of $100 for each violation against each employee by the employer. If the violation was willful or intentional, the penalty is $200 per violation per employee. It is also $200 for a subsequent violation.

Q: Can I Sue for Unpaid Wages in California?

A: Yes, employees can file a claim against their employer if they are not receiving the wages they deserve. Nonexempt employees have a right to minimum wage, overtime pay, and rest and meal breaks. All employees deserve to be fairly compensated for their work. Wage claims can be filed with the California Labor Commissioner’s Office or the federal Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. By filing a complaint with one of these agencies, you may receive the right to sue your employer, enabling you to cover unpaid wages and other damages.

Q: What Happens to California Employers Who Don’t Pay Overtime?

A: Employees can file civil claims against employers for wage theft and overtime violations. When you file a complaint with a relevant state or federal agency, they will review the claim and the employer. If it finds multiple complaints against the same employer, it may file a claim against the employer itself. Otherwise, it will send you the right to sue. You can file a claim yourself, which may include damages such as unpaid wages, waiting time penalties, accurate wage statement violations, on-time pay period violations, and other damages.

Shirazi Law Firm, PC Can Help With Labor Law Violations

Employees often rely on the prompt and full payment of their wages to provide for their livelihood. It is illegal and unfair of employers to not pay their employees the wages they are owed. When you work with Shirazi Law Firm, PC, we provide you with responsive and compassionate legal support, working to address your specific needs and concerns. We are experienced litigators and can help you determine the right path for your claim. If your employer has violated your employee rights, we can help. Contact our team today.

“Emanuel genuinely cares about the situations his clients are in and stays in constant communication with them. He is very honest and assertive and quick to take action. I would recommend him to anyone because of his expertise as an employment lawyer and his ability to make you feel at ease in a tough situation“


CC was one of several employees who were misclassified as exempt from overtime by their employer. California’s Labor Code only allows select professionals, managers, and administrators to be exempt from overtime pay and breaks.

CC’s employer intentionally misclassified her and her co-workers as exempt to avoid paying them anything for overtime worked. CC and her co-workers regularly worked dozens of hours a week of overtime for no pay whatsoever.

Further, CC’s employer failed to provide duty-free meal and rest periods and failed to pay one additional hour of pay for each duty-free meal or rest period that was not provided in accordance with California law.

We helped CC and her co-workers get a substantial settlement.

If you believe you have been misclassified as an exempt employee and not paid overtime, our firm may be able to get you justice too. Give us a call at 310-742-8711 for your free intake, or reach out to the Shirazi Law Firm, PC, online to schedule a free consultation with our team.

Cases are handled on a contingency fee basis, meaning we only get paid after you do. Consultations/communications can be virtual if preferred.




Founder Emanuel Shirazi is an employment lawyer in Los Angeles representing employees who have been legally wronged by their employers. In addition to representing employees, Mr. Shirazi used to defend employers while he worked at the largest employment law firms in the country. Thus, Mr. Shirazi knows the tricks of the trade of the other side and will use that to your advantage in your case. Mr. Shirazi’s experience helps him anticipate your employer’s defense and prepare accordingly.