Check out Thomas M Lee Law Offices on Yelp

Labor Law

Why do you work for free?

More likely than not, your employer makes you work long and hard hours, and does not appreciate how hard you work for them. Your hard work contributes to the success of their business, makes your employers richer, yet they do not appreciate you. Your employers know the labor laws better than you. They know they can be severely punished if you took action against them, yet they still exploit you and not pay you overtime wages.

In California, the labor laws were made to protect you, the employee. Most employees are entitled to receive overtime wages even if they receive a salary, and even if their employers call them “managers.” Millions of employees are owed money by their employers and they don’t even know it. Your employer may tell you you are not entitled to overtime because you are a “manager” but you do not do manager duties and do not get paid the manager wages. And, your employer forces you to work 50, 60, even 70 hour weeks, and tells you that you shouldn’t get overtime because you get paid a salary. No matter what, you should be paid overtime wages for your extra work if you are entitled to overtime wages.

If you work in a restaurant, auto repair ship, or even as a maid, our experience is that there is a high chance that you have earned more under the law than your employer has paid to you.

We have helped many employees in your situation. And, we have achieved excellent results for employees, regardless of immigration status. More importantly, because we are also immigration lawyers, we known how to best protect your interests and still recover your unpaid wages, commissions, and vacation pay. Please remember that every case is different, and no warranties can be made about the outcome of your case.

Consult with us, and we will see if you are entitled to recovery money you have worked for. Your consultation with us is free and completely confidential. Employers who consult with our firm must pay a consultation fee.

We understand that your financial situation would usually prevent you from hiring a lawyer. No money is paid by you up front to us. Because we ask your employer to pay our fees, we try to maximize your recover. If we don’t recover, we don’t get paid.

Let us help you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What if my immigration status in the United States is uncertain?

A: All persons who perform work in the United States are entitled to be paid properly and legally for the time they have worked. Every Court in the United States which has been asked has determined that immigration status is not relevant to a wage claim. Under California law, your employer is not permitted to use your immigration status against you.

Q: I receive a salary. How can I collect overtime pay?

A: The fact that you receive a salary does not mean you don’t get overtime pay. In fact, many people who receive a salary are not properly paid. We’ll ask you some questions to see if you might be entitled to overtime even if you are salaried.

Q: My employer keeps telling me I an “exempt” and don’t get overtime. Should I talk to a lawyer?

A: Yes. Too many employers try to get their employees to work 50 or 60 hours a week for the price of 40. The employer may say you can’t get overtime, but only seeking the (free cost) advice of a lawyer will allow you to decide if you want to make a claim.

Q: Do I need a lawyer?

A: You need someone on your side who knows your rights, will fight to enforce them, and who will give proper attention to your case. The Labor Commissioner is full of well-meaning people who have too many cases, and suffer from too many budget cuts. A good lawyer will ask you for no money, get you paid, and get your employer to pay the attorney fee. Bottom line: You likely get a better result if you hire a lawyer.

Q: Aren’t lawyers expensive?

A: An attorney who is experienced in this area of law will never ask you for a penny in advance, and will get you paid for his costs and fees at the end of the case. Because the law requires your employer to pay for your lawyer, the expensive lawyer because your employer’s problem.

Q: How much should I expect to pay for this first step?

A: Nothing Lawyers experienced in handling wage claims will not ask you for any money up front. If you have a case worth taking, you will enter into a fee agreement with the lawyer. As noted, the law provides your employer pay for your lawyer, with minor exceptions.

Q: I’ve worked for my employer for many years. Can I make a claim for all of those years?

A: Long term employees need to speak with an attorney right away. Time runs out on a claim. Your rights are preserved when the case is filed, not when you think you have a claim or when you see a lawyer. You can usually go back three years from when when your lawyer files a complaint or legal action under California law. You may be able to go back four years, gut the point is, long term employees need to act to avoid giving more “gifts” of your time to your employer.

Q: I never complained about my overtime. Can I still claim it?

A: Yes. As long as you did the work, and your employer knew about it, you can make the claim.

Q: I didn’t keep any records of my time. What should I do?

A: Contact us. It was your employer’s duty to keep records, not yours. Your truthful testimony of the amount you estimate you worked is sufficient. Of course, if you have a diary or calendar, let us know.

Q: Can I recover any damages in addition to my unpaid overtime?

A: You may have claims for interest and penalties. You may also have claims you don’t know about. Vacation pay, tip sharing, minimum wage claims may also be available. Talking to a lawyer will allow the chance to explore other amounts which may be due to you, or other claims you may have.

Q: What Do I have to do in a lawsuit?

A: You must be committed to your case. You worked for the money. It’s yours. Your employer is illegally keeping money that is yours. Although most cases don’t go to court, you must still be willing to come to an attorney’s officer for an interview, provide full and truthful information to answer questions about your case, for a deposition (questions under oath asked by the opposing attorney), and anything else necessary to pursue your claim, including a trial, if necessary. Remember, it is your money. It is your claim. We will fight for your case, but we did not work for your employer. We need your help to develop information to prosecute your case. Each case is different. While we will be working hard on your case, usually only modest effort is required by you over a six to eight month period, but some cases take longer (or, of course, shorter), and require that you work hard to be sure you get what you earned.

Q: Other lawyers claim that they won a $1.5 million judgment for their client. Does that mean I can get a similar amount from my employer?

A: Every case is different. The amount of money an employee obtains at judgment or settlement is based on numerous factors. For example, an employee who worked 60 or more hours a week for over three years, received wages in cash with no pay-stubs, and was paid a monthly salary would have a large claim than an employee who worked 45 hours a week for one or two months. If you need assistance in determining an estimate of how much you may be owed by your employer, please call us for a free consultation.

For a confidential legal consultation, call us at (213) 251-5533 or contact us here.