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Featured / October 2, 2023

Debunking Common Myths About California Wage and Hour Laws: A Lawyer's Perspective

As a firm representing employees in wage and hour cases, Sani Law’s goal is to ensure our clients know their rights and receive fair treatment. California's wage and hour laws are designed to protect employees, ensuring they get the pay they deserve, have sufficient breaks, and receive reimbursement for work expenses. However, we often come across misconceptions that can lead to employees being denied their rightful rights or missing opportunities to fight for unpaid wages, missed breaks, and unreimbursed expenses. In this blog post, we’ll clear up some common myths about California's wage and hour laws, so employees can stand up for themselves and assert their rights.

Myth 1: "I'm on Salary, so I Can't Get Overtime Pay"

Many people believe that being on salary means they can't get overtime pay. While it's true for some salaried employees, not all are exempt from overtime pay. It depends on their specific job duties, not just how they get paid. If their job meets the criteria for non-exempt work, they have the right to overtime pay for extra hours worked beyond 8 hours a day or 40 hours a week.

Myth 2: "If My Boss Calls Me an Independent Contractor, I Have No Rights"

Employers sometimes label workers as independent contractors to avoid paying benefits and following wage and hour laws. However, job titles don't determine your status. If you do employee-like work, such as having set hours and using company tools, you might be misclassified. In California, misclassified workers can seek help for unpaid wages and benefits.

Myth 3: "My Boss Can Deduct Money from My Pay for Mistakes or Damages"

In most cases, bosses can't take money from your paycheck for mistakes, damages, or customer losses. Doing so could leave you earning less than the minimum wage, which is illegal. However, there are some exceptions, like taxes or deductions for benefits you agreed to.

Myth 4: "I Don't Get Paid for Breaks, but I Can Leave Early Instead"

Some employers may say you don't need to be paid for breaks if you leave early. But that's not true. In California, you're entitled to paid rest breaks and unpaid meal breaks during your workday. Leaving early doesn't excuse your employer from providing those breaks. If they don't, they might be breaking the law.

Myth 5: "I Have to Sign Away My Overtime Rights"

Some bosses may ask you to sign away your overtime rights. But don't worry – those agreements are often not enforceable. Wage and hour laws protect your rights, and you can't give them up easily.


We feel it is essential for us to debunk these myths and make sure employees know their rights under California's wage and hour laws. Misconceptions can lead to unfair treatment, unpaid wages, and missed breaks. By understanding their rights, employees can stand up for themselves and seek the pay and benefits they deserve. We’re here to help our clients navigate these laws and ensure they receive fair treatment in the workplace. With accurate information on my website, we strive to serve as a trusted resource for employees seeking guidance on California's wage and hour laws. Together, we can create a fair and equitable work environment for everyone.

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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute a client relationship.
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