Legal Memorandum: Right to Overtime Pay

Issue: What do California Courts consider in determining whether a salaried employee is entitled to overtime pay?

Area of Law: Employee Law
Keywords: Overtime pay; Contracts or collective bargaining agreements; An employee without a written agreement
Jurisdiction: California
Cited Cases: 257 Cal. Rptr. 924; 277 Cal. Rptr. 247; 226 Cal.App.3d 952; 245 Cal. Rptr. 36
Cited Statutes: Cal. Labor Code § 510, § 515(a)
Date: 06/01/2000

Virtually every court in California that has looked at the issue has determined that an employee without a written agreement is entitled to overtime pay for time spent over forty hours per week.  Although the bulk of cases deal with rights arising under contracts or collective bargaining agreements, there are several cases in which Courts have examined oral agreements.

In California, the Labor Code provides the general framework for the right to overtime pay.  Cal. Labor Code § 510 provides:

Any work in excess of eight hours in one workday and any work in excess of 40 hours in any one workweek and the first eight hours worked on the seventh day of work in any one workweek shall be compensated at the rate of no less than one and one‑half times the regular rate of pay for an employee.

It goes on to list exemptions:

The requirements of this section do not apply to the payment of overtime compensation to an employee working pursuant to any of the following:

(1) An alternative workweek schedule adopted pursuant to Section 511.

 (2) An alternative workweek schedule adopted pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement pursuant to Section 514.

(3) An alternative workweek schedule to which this chapter is inapplicable pursuant to Section 554.


There is a statutory criterion for granting exemptions, but it apparently requires pre-approval by California’s Industrial Welfare Commission.   […]

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