Can I get fired for claiming overtime pay?

Employers are prohibited by law from retaliating against an employee for requesting they be paid overtime pay or any other compensation duly owed to them.  

Illegal retaliation may take many forms, including:

  • Termination of employment;
  • Transfer to a less desirable position;
  • Reducing pay or benefits; or
  • Any other action that adversely affects the employee’s working conditions.

However, the employee’s damages from retaliation will be greater if the retaliation is serious, such as termination.

If the employer can show the adverse employment action was for a legitimate business reason, then the employee must show that the employer’s reasoning is false and is just an excuse to terminate them in retaliation for complaining or requesting all due wages. For example, if the employer claims the employee was “laid off” but the employee shows that their position was shortly re-hired or replaced, then there could be a strong assumption of retaliation.

In essence, an employer cannot treat an employee differently for claiming overtime pay, and if they do, the employer can be held liable through a California wage and hour lawsuit.

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