Oftentimes, employers will avoid paying overtime by improperly designating certain employees as “independent contractors.” But it’s not that simple. Many factors determine whether or not you’re an independent contractor.
A true independent contractor will set their own work schedule, buy the tools and equipment necessary for their job, and they will contract to work with more than one employer. You could be entitled to overtime pay and other compensation if you’ve experienced any of the following:
- Your employer determines your job duties
- Your employer requires you to work at specified times and/or places
- Your employer has to authorize the number of hours you work or when you begin or finish work
- Your employer requires that you work only for that particular employer
- Your employer provides the tools and equipment you need to do your job
If you’ve been classified as an “independent contractor” but in practice you’re actually a regular employee, you may very well have been underpaid. If so, you could have a case against your employer. Take action now.
Meal or Rest Breaks Denied
California law requires that you take an uninterrupted 30-minute “meal break” for any work shift lasting five or more hours. The law also requires a 10-minute “rest break” for every four hours that you work.
You could have a meal or rest break claim if you’ve experienced any of the following:
- You’ve been unable to take a meal or rest break
- Your meal breaks are too short (less than 30 minutes)
- You’re not free to leave work during your meal breaks
- Your meal breaks happen too late
- You’ve worked a 12-hour or longer shift but had only one meal break (you’re entitled to two meal breaks during longer shifts)
- Your employer has asked you to sign a “waiver” to give up either meal or rest breaks
- As a mother with an infant, you have not been provided a reasonable amount of break time to express breast milk or been provided with a private location in which to express milk
In California, the meal and rest break law is strictly enforced. You may very well have a claim if you believe you haven’t received all the breaks you’re entitled to by law. Take action now.
Failure to Provide Medical Leave
Both the federal government and the State of California require that employers allow employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. Some of the circumstances that constitute a violation include:
- An employer prevents you from taking leave when you have a medical condition
- An employer prevents you from taking leave when a family member has a serious medical condition
- An employer fails to maintain your health, dental, and vision benefits throughout the full 12 weeks of leave to which you’re entitled
- An employer claims to have no obligation to maintain your health, dental, and vision benefits throughout the full 12 weeks of leave to which you’re entitled
- An employer makes it difficult or impossible to take personal or family medical leave
- An employer treats you differently after having taken your lawful leave
- An employer retaliates or discriminates against you for taking your lawful leave by, as one example, demoting you to a lesser job
If you believe that your employer has not complied with any of the requirements for providing leave due to personal or family medical issues, you may very well have a claim. Take action now.
Vacation or Paid Time Off
Employers are not required to provide vacation benefits or paid time off (PTO). But if they do, they must follow the law. Use this checklist to determine if you’ve experienced any of the following:
- Your employer has reduced earned vacation benefits during your employment
- Your employer reduced any earned vacation benefits at the end of your employment
- Your employer has a “Use It or Lose It” vacation benefits policy
- Your employer has reduced any earned PTO (including sick days) during your employment
- Your employer reduced any earned PTO at the end of your employment
- Your employer restricts your use of paid sick leave to only certain times
- Your employer doesn’t cash out your sick time at the end of your employment (only if you work in San Francisco)
Remember, once you earn vacation time or PTO, it’s just like any pay you’ve earned that cannot be taken away. In fact, if you quit, get fired or laid off, you’re entitled to receive—as part of your final paycheck—the money value of all earned and unused vacation time.
If you believe that your employer has not complied with the applicable laws governing vacation time and PTO, as outlined above, you may very well have a claim. Take action now. There’s no charge and everything is kept confidential. Contact us today—the employment law experts at Lawyers for Employee & Consumer Rights.