Defending Against Claims of Wage and Hour Violations
Wage and hour lawsuits have grown steadily in recent years. Such claims arise when an employee accuses an employer of paying them improper wages or withholding their wages. The financial stakes for employers facing wage and hour lawsuits can be very high. If successful, a single wage and hour lawsuit can be quite costly to an employer. Fortunately, when an employee or former employee files a wage and hour claim, an employer has the right to provide a defense before the state Labor Commissioner or the court. If you are an employer facing allegations of wage and hour violations, it is crucial that you take immediate action and contact a qualified employment defense attorney. A skilled attorney can help you develop a winning defense strategy. But even before you speak to an attorney, read on to learn about some of the viable defenses you can assert when faced with claims of wage and hour violations.Defense #1: Good Faith Defense
Suppose a current or former employee filed a claim against you alleging you willfully failed to pay them their wages. In such a case, you may be able to bring up the “good faith defense.” This defense entails showing that you acted in good faith and with a reasonable belief that you were not violating the law. The good faith defense aims to prove that you did not willfully or intentionally fail to pay an employee their wages. However, it is advisable that you proceed with caution when asserting the good faith defense. An attorney can guide you accordingly.Defense #2: Statute of Limitations
After an employee files a wage and hour lawsuit against you, you may be able to defend yourself by arguing that the claim should be barred because it was not filed before the statute of limitations expired. A statute of limitations is a rule that bars a claimant from filing a claim after a certain period of time passes. In California, the statute of limitations for wage and hour claims varies depending on the type of claim. But most common labor code violations, including unpaid wages related to minimum wage or overtime violations, fall under a three-year statute of limitations.Defense #3: Employee Meets the Criteria for an Exemption
Depending on the facts and circumstances, you may be able to argue that the plaintiff is an exempt employee. In California, exempt employees are not entitled to at least the minimum wage. They are also not entitled to overtime wages. According to California law, exempt employees generally have a white-collar job, are paid a salary equivalent to at least two times the state’s minimum wage, and regularly exercise discretion and independent judgment at work. Common categories of exempt employees in California include executive, outside sales, administrative, and computer employees.Contact a Skilled Employment Attorney in San Francisco
If a current or former employee has filed a wage and hour claim against you, it is crucial that you consult an employment defense attorney as soon as possible. Our skilled and dedicated employment defense attorneys in San Francisco can help you develop a strong defense strategy. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.