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Are no-overtime policies a violation of California laws?

On Behalf of | Dec 5, 2023 | Wage And Hour Claims |

California has expanded employment law protections when compared with many other states. State lawmakers have enacted laws that do not exist at the federal level and expanded existing federal protections for the benefit of California workers. As a result, overtime rules in California are vastly different than they are in most other states.

Sometimes, workers misunderstand the law, either due to oversimplifying it or receiving inaccurate information from others. For example, some people claim that a business having a no-overtime policy is a violation of worker rights. But, does California law actually prohibit businesses from enforcing a no-overtime policy?

The policy itself is not the problem

It is actually legal for a company to have a policy against unapproved worker overtime. Companies can and do limit how many workers put in overtime to control staffing costs. Those who oversee shifts at the business need to carefully monitor time clock records to ensure that nobody puts in more than 40 hours in a given work week or works a very long shift that could trigger overtime pay requirements in accordance with California state law. It is within a company’s rights to limit workers to less than 40 hours and shorter shifts to keep payroll expenses manageable.

However, it will become a labor law violation for a company to enforce a policy after a worker has put in that time. If a worker stays on the clock for long enough to be eligible for overtime pay or puts in more than 40 hours, then a business’s internal policy no longer matters. The company needs to comply with federal law by paying the worker appropriately for the time they have already worked.

The company typically should not deny the worker wages nor penalize them for accruing overtime. A no-overtime policy will not diminish a company’s wage responsibilities if the workers are on the clock for long enough to qualify for overtime pay.

A company having a policy against overtime is not a violation of California law, but its refusal to pay workers for the hours they put in would potentially violate the rights of those employees. Learning about California’s unique employment laws can help workers determine when they may have grounds for a wage claim due to uncompensated labor performed for an employer.

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