Overtime cases arise when employees are not paid properly. There are several rules that apply to paying non-exempt employees properly:
- You must be paid for travel time between job sites.
- You must be paid for activities you do before and after your shift starts.
- You must be paid for activities to prepare for work that are central to work activities.
- Your employer may dictate your schedule and hours and may require that work overtime. Additionally, under most circumstances your employer may discipline you, up to and including termination, if you refuse to work scheduled overtime.
- If you work overtime that is not authorized you must be paid for it, regardless of whether the employer has authorized it. But your employer can discipline you if you violate the employer's policy of working overtime without the required authorization. However, California's wage and hour laws require that you to be compensated for any hours you are "suffered or permitted to work, whether or not required to do so," meaning work you did that the employer knew or should have known about. So you cannot deliberately prevent the employer from obtaining knowledge of the unauthorized overtime worked, and come back later to claim recovery. Your employer must have the opportunity to obey the law.
If you believe that you are not getting overtime wages when you should use our detailed Overtime Compensation Question form to send us a detailed question about your overtime situation.