There are many areas in which improper regulation or oversight can get an organization in California into non-compliance with employee treatment and protection of rights. In addition to discriminating or retaliating against employees, companies must also be cognizant in how they pay their employees and how much they require them to work.
The area of law that addresses this issue and provides employees with various protections is wage and hour law. The Fair Labor Standards Act governs wage and hour laws and sets minimum wage and overtime standards. For example, $7.25 per hour is the federal minimum wage set by the FSLA; however, some states -- including California -- have enacted a higher minimum wage. Any organization that pays their employees less than this may be in violation if the employees in question are entitled to the minimum wage.
More commonly, wage and hour disputes are related to overtime. The FSLA states that employers must pay their workers time-and-a-half for the number of hours worked above the 40-hour workweek standard. However, this requirement does not apply to employees that are classified as exempt. It only applies to those classified as non-exempt. Exempt employees are typically executives, administrators or professional employees that are not entitled to overtime pay. Exempt employees are categorized in the FLSA, so employers are able to reference the categories for compliance purposes.
Another circumstance in which organizations can run afoul of wage and hour standards is when they bring in independent contractors to complete work for them. They must be careful in how the contractor's work is being performed to ensure that they haven't improperly classified them and withheld benefits that they would otherwise be entitled to.
Wage and hour law can be complex and lead to many disputes between employers and employees. Any employee that feels their employer is violating their wage and hour rights may seek the guidance of a professional to assess their claim, help them protect their rights and ensure that their employer corrects the wage and hour violation.
Source: HR Hero, "Wage and Hour Employment Law," accessed Feb. 1, 2015