California Labor Code

Under the California labor code, overtime pay laws apply by their terms to all employees in the state who are non-exempt. The California Labor Code declares in plain English that any work in excess of eight hours in one workday and 40 hours in any one workweek must be compensated at the rate of no less than one and one-half times the regular rate of pay.

If an employer violates overtime pay laws under the California Labor Code by failing to pay wages in the amount, time or manner required by contract or by statute, the employee has two primary options. First, the employee may seek judicial relief by filing an ordinary civil lawsuits against the employer for violating the California Labor Code. The other option for the employee is to seek administrative relief by filing an overtime pay claim with the California Labor Commissioner pursuant to California Labor Code Section 98.

Under California Law, the term "wages" is broadly construed to include not only the regular hourly earnings of the employee but also the other benefits to which the employee is entitled as a part of compensation plans. Wages include those benefits to which an employee is entitled as a part of his or her compensation, including money, room, board, clothing, vacation pay, and sick pay. Incentive compensation, such as bonuses and profit-sharing plans, also constitute wages. When an employer calculates an employees regular rate of pay for purposes of calculating overtime pay, the employer is required to include the commissions and bonuses made by the employee during the pay period.

The failure to include the commissions in the regular rate of pay is considered a violation of the California Labor Code. Pursuant to California Labor Code section 1194 on minimum wages, any employee receiving less than the legal minimum wage or the legal overtime compensation applicable to the employee is entitled to recover in a civil action the unpaid balance of the full amount of this minimum wage or overtime compensation, including interest thereon, reasonable attorney fees, and costs of suit. 

Under California labor code section 203, when an employer intentionally or willfully violates wage and hour laws, former employees can recover wages for each day they are gone from the company after leaving or being fired, for a maximum of up to 30 days of their salary. This violation of the California labor code requires that the employer willfully violates the law.