California law reflects the state’s strong public policy in favor of full payment of wages for all hours worked.  Armenta v. Osmose, 135 Cal. App. 4th 314, 321-24 (2005).  California employees are entitled to collect overtime compensation, based on a multiple of their regular hourly rate. California Labor Code § 510, et seq. Specifically, California employees are entitled to overtime pay of one and a half times the employee’s regular hourly rate for hours worked over forty hours per week or more than eight hours per day. California Labor Code § 510(a). Additionally, California employees are entitled to double their hourly rate for all work performed over twelve hours per day. Id. Overtime hours and pay must be clearly marked on written wage statements provided to California employees on pay days. California Labor Code § 226.

Can Employers Force California Employees to Waive Their Right to Overtime Compensation?

No, California employees can never be forced to waive their right to overtime compensation. California Labor Code § 1194. Any agreement to waive overtime is not enforceable. And, the employee will be protected from retaliation for refusing to agree, reporting the agreement to the proper authority at their employer or to the State of California. California Labor Code § 1102.5. The California employee is also empowered to bring a civil action to recover unpaid overtime compensation with interest. California Labor Code § 1194. Should the California employee prevail, they will also recover their reasonable attorney fees and court costs. Id. Alternatively, the California employee may elect to file their claim at the DLSE. California Labor Code §§ 1195, 1193.5.

Where a California employee elects to bring their unpaid overtime compensation claim in court, they often may also seek statutory penalties and civil penalties for minimum wage and overtime violations.

Does This Law Protect Employees Covered by a Collective Bargaining Agreement?

Yes, California Labor Code section 1194 covers California employees covered by collective bargaining agreements.  Gregory v. SCIE, LLC, 317 F. 3d 1050, 1054 fn. 5 (9th Cir. 2003).

Failure to Pay Overtime Compensation is Wage Theft

An employer’s failure to pay overtime compensation is a failure to pay wages. An employer’s failure to pay wages constitutes wage theft. Wage theft is a crime.

For more information regarding California overtime laws, please visit the California Department of Industrial Relations.

Astanehe Law Knows Employee Rights

If your employer has violated your right to overtime compensation, contact Astanehe Law. Astanehe Law has experience representing California employees who have suffered California Labor Code violations, including unpaid overtime compensation.  Astanehe Law represents clients on a contingency fee basis. Call us at (415) 226-7170 or email us at