In California, many employers violate state employment laws. However, it is difficult for employees to find employment attorneys to represent them in these cases for many different reasons. The first reason why employees have a difficult time finding an attorney when a big company commits labor law violations is that the worker does not have the money to pay an attorney. The second reason why it is hard to find a California discrimination or wrongful termination attorney is because in some discrimination claims attorneys fees can go both ways and therefore it is not economically viable for attorneys to take the claims on a contingency basis. The final reason is that the damages in wrongful termination and discrimination lawsuits are difficult to prove. Often times, the employee is already working at a new job and therefore future lost wages are unavailable for the employee. As a result of these reasons, many employers get away with labor code violations, or do they?
California has very strict wage and hour laws. Often times, employees in the state seek an attorney because they think that their workplace rights have been violated. Perhaps a discrimination or wrongful termination violation. Many times, the employee is right: the employer fired the employee for some discriminatory reason such as pregnancy discrimination or race discrimination. Although the employee has a difficult time finding an attorney for the reasons described above, the employee may not know that his or her wage and hour violations were violated.
Under California overtime laws, employers must pay employees overtime compensation for all hours worked in excess of eight hours in a single workday and under the Fair Labor Standards Act and the California Labor Code employers must pay employees overtime compensation at one and a half times the employees regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of forty 40 hours in a single workweek. Often times, employers pay employees a salary and tell the employees that because they are paid a salary, they are not entitled to be paid overtime. The employees often take the employers word for it and work a lot of overtime hours without additional compensation.
Although employees may have difficulty finding an attorney to take their case for discrimination or harassment in the workplace, the employee will likely not have time finding an attorney to take their case on a contingency fee basis under a wage and hour legal theory. If plead correctly, the wage and hour claims do not give rise to two way attorneys fees and the benefits of litigating overtime claims in California are many. Meanwhile, in the wage and hour class action lawsuit, the employees still get to litigate their discrimination and harassment claims because the employer usually takes the employee's deposition and the employee gets a chance to explain how the employer's conduct was discriminatory. Although on the complaint discrimination is not named as the cause of action, at the end of the day wage and hour overtime class action attorneys enable employees to find attorneys that will help them fight back against big companies. The lawyers front all the litigation costs and the employees never pay the overtime attorneys unless the overtime lawyers win them money.