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Wage and Hour Law


san-diego-labor-attorney  Wage and hour law in California is very technical. Federal law regulates many aspects of it, but California law regulates those areas that federal law does not. Additionally, in most cases, even in areas already regulated by Congress, California law provides more protections for workers. Thus, in most cases, California’s more worker friendly laws will apply. In addition, some cities in California have still more worker friendly laws than even California does. For instance, in San Diego, the city gives workers a higher minimum wage and more sick leave. In a few years, the California minimum wage will probably be greater than the San Diego minimum wage, but as of 2016 and into the immediate future, it does not. Both employers and employees should be aware of the differences among, and interplay with, federal, state, and local laws.


Employers Beware

  The overlap of federal, state, and local laws is confusing. However, the confusion gets worse because the legislatures at all levels pass new employment laws or change old ones. Read our blog posts about yearly changes in the law. How can a well-meaning employer keep up with the changes? One way is to call us to discuss how the changes in employment laws affects you. Even then, you sometimes find yourself facing a Labor Commissioner (DLSE) claim, a claim before another government agency, or law suit. We help with those situations too.

Employees in San Diego and California, Know Your Rights!

  You work hard for your company. Now, your employer has failed to compensate you for your work. It is a slap in the face. Even more importantly, it is against the law.

  At Employment Law Office of Ward Heinrichs, our California wage and hour law attorneys spend most of their time litigating and resolving wage and hour disputes. We are a class action employment law firm that helps employees form classes and bring wage and hour claims against unlawful employment practices.

  We at Employment Law Office of Ward Heinrichs understand the California and federal employment laws. We also understand the practical realities of the workplace and how technical wage and hour violations show up at work, damaging individuals and groups of employees. We use this knowledge to develop a case strategy that will help you get the best recovery in the least amount of time. We want to see you paid fairly for the work you did, and we want to see it happen as soon as possible.

  Were you paid less than California’s minimum wage? California’s minimum hourly wage as of 2017 is $10.50 per hour for employers who employ more than 25 employees. In 2018 it will increase for all California employers. By 2023 it will reach $15.00 per hour for all employers. Those increases may also affect certain commission plans and will affect the minimum salary level of exempt employees. If you did not receive the lawful rate of pay, you have a right to demand it. The scheduled increases of the California minimum wage are below.


  • Were you paid less than California’s minimum wage? California’s minimum hourly wage in 2017 was $10.50 per hour. Certain commission plans and other arrangements may violate the minimum wage law. If you did not receive the lawful rate of pay, you have a right to demand it.
  • Were you properly paid for overtime? If you are a nonexempt employee, you must be paid overtime for any hours you work over 8 hours in one day or over 40 hours in one week. Any hours worked over 12 hours in one day require double time. If you did not receive overtime, you have a right to demand it. This includes hours that you felt forced to “volunteer” for your company and time spent working through meal periods. Even some salaried employees are entitled to overtime pay. Your overtime pay must be paid promptly. Employers cannot ask you to wait to be paid overtime.
  • Did your employer prevent you from taking adequate lunch breaks or rest breaks? Any employee who is not an exempt employee is entitled to a 30-minute meal break for every five hours they work and a 10-minute paid rest break for every four hours they work. Has your employer or the circumstances of your employment caused you to miss lunches or breaks? Contact us.
  • Were you reimbursed for your company-mandated expenses? Company-mandated expenses include tools and equipment, mileage traveled while on-the-job, work related seminars, safety equipment and more. If your employer does not reimburse you for your job-related expense, we can help you bring a claim.
  • Did you receive the bonus or commission that you rightfully earned? If you were promised a bonus or commission that you worked hard to earn, an employer’s refusal to pay that bonus may be against the law.

  Did you know you are also entitled to be compensated for show-up time (the time it took waiting around to see if there was work to do), the time it took to change into your required work uniform, and the time it took to drive from one office to the next?

Future Increases in the California Minimum Wage

For employers who employ at least 26 employees:

1. On January 1, 2017, the minimum wage will increase to $10.50 per hour.
2. On January 1, 2018, the minimum wage will increase to $11 per hour.
3. On January 1, 2019, the minimum wage will increase to $12 per hour.
4. On January 1, 2020, the minimum wage will increase to $13 per hour.
5. On January 1, 2021, the minimum wage will increase to $14 per hour.
6. On January 1, 2022, the minimum wage will increase to $15 per hour.

For all other employers, the minimum wage will increase on this schedule:

1. On January 1, 2018, the minimum wage will increase to $10.50 per hour.
2. On January 1, 2019, the minimum wage will increase to $11 per hour.
3. On January 1, 2020, the minimum wage will increase to $12 per hour.
4. On January 1, 2021, the minimum wage will increase to $13 per hour.
5. On January 1, 2022, the minimum wage will increase to $14 per hour.
6. On January 1, 2023, the minimum wage will increase to $15 per hour.

Fighting Against Illegal Employment Practices

  Employers frequently intimidate, threaten or coerce employees to work off-the-clock, skip lunch, and take other measures designed to improve the employer’s bottom line. Do not accept this treatment or let it continue. Chances are you are not the only one who is affected. Our California employment law attorneys will help you determine who else is experiencing the same treatment and, when possible, start a class action against your employer and your employer’s illegal policies.

  You may think you don’t have the leverage necessary to fight your employer. You may worry about losing your job. You may even worry about the cost of litigation. Let our lawyers take some of that worry away. Contact us to arrange a free and confidential consultation today. We represent clients throughout California, including clients in the Inland Empire, northern California, San Diego and Los Angeles.

Initial consultations are always free.

For more information, you can contact us at: 858-292-0792 





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“Mr. Heinrichs is truly the most caring attorney I have ever met. After calling for an initial consult and leaving a message, my call was returned with in 30 minutes. He listened to me with out making me feel like a dollar sign and agreed to take on my case. I never had a problem communicating with him. He explained the process and informed me of every next step. I always knew what to expect and what time frame I was looking at. He worked hard on my case and I was happy with the outcome.” Amy L. Lakeside, CA _____________________
“This is the second time I employed the service of this firm and I got a very positive outcome from my labor issue. Mr. Heinrichs is very understanding and professional and his negotiation skills are very effective in lending a voice to any employee that has to face a well defended and lawyered up corporation. I also recommended him to a friend of mine a couple of years back and he was able to also get a decent severance package for that person.”
M. S. Del Mar, CA _____________________
“Ward Heinrichs was very effective in helping me resolve my labor issues with my company. He advised me on settlements and we received the desired outcome very quickly. He also ran through various options on his fees and let me chose the one that worked for me. He is a pleasant and professional attorney and I recommend him highly.” L R. San Diego, CA _____________________
“My name is Jeffrey Walters and I was the lead class representative in a case against Pacific Eagle International Security, Inc., a company that provided armed security guard services for the U.S. Navy. During our case, Ward Heinrichs always responded to my phone calls and many e-mails regarding the many problems we all faced with this case. We worked closely together to prove that California wage law applied to Pacific Eagle, even though the class of security guards worked on property controlled by the Navy. Pacific Eagle believed that only federal wage law applied to it. Without Mr. Heinrichs’ unwavering persistence and total command of the difficult issues in the case, we probably would never have received the money Pacific Eagle owed us. Mr. Heinrichs presented the case through facts obtained through vigorous research. After two years of litigation, Pacific Eagle finally agreed to pay $900,000.00 to settle the class action for unpaid wages, un-reimbursed expenses, penalties, etc. I received $15,000.00 for being one of the class representatives in addition to my share of the money that Pacific Eagle owed me and my fellow security guards. I am very grateful for the hard work and commitment.”
Jeffrey Walters _____________________
“Ward Heinrichs is professional and knows employment law. He is personable, always answers his phone and was available anytime I called. As a person in transition for the very first time in 25 years, he has helped me move forward without any regrets. I would recommend Mr. Heinrichs for any employment related dispute.”
JFM Temecula, Ca. _____________________