Even with the increase in online shopping and fewer shoppers relying on mall and brick-and-mortar retail stores for their holiday shopping, Black Friday is a major shopping day for Americans. Retailers still depend on Black Friday sales for nearly a quarter of their annual revenue. Black Friday is not busy only for retail store workers, but also employees at restaurants and other businesses who pull long hours and back-to-back shifts on this day.
If you are working additional hours during Black Friday or during the holiday shopping season, it is very important you know and understand your rights as an employee. It is important that you are aware of wage and hour laws, particularly those that pertain to overtime, minimum wage, meal breaks and rest breaks so you are not exploited by unscrupulous employers.
Are California Employers Required to Give Workers a Paid Holiday on Black Friday?
No, employers in California are not required under the law to give their employees a paid holiday on Black Friday. In fact, a number of employers give workers additional incentives to work on holidays such as Black Friday or Thanksgiving Day. Employees receive extra pay similar to overtime pay known as "holiday pay." That said, California employers are not obligated to give holiday pay to employees or to give employees Thanksgiving and Black Friday off - with or without pay.
Black Friday and the holiday season are notorious among employees who squeeze long hours out of their workers. In order to maximize their profits, many employers violate labor laws and force employees to work in stressful or even dangerous conditions.
California Wage and Hour Laws
Employers are required to comply with federal and California wage and hour laws for non-exempt and salaried employees. In California, in 2023, that means all employers must pay employees a minimum wage of $15.50 per hour. Some cities and counties have higher minimum wages than the state rate. In such scenarios, employers must pay whichever is the higher rate. In addition, employers must pay hourly employees 1.5 times their regular rate of pay if they work more than eight hours in a workday or over 40 hours during a workweek.
If an employee works more than 12 hours in a day or more than eight hours on the seventh day of a workweek, they get twice their regular rate in overtime pay. California employees are entitled to receive rest and meal breaks. If you work more than five hours a day, you must get at least one 30-minute meal breaks or two meal breaks if you work 10 or more hours. Also, you are entitled to receive a 10-minute rest period for every four hours you work.
If you are working on Black Friday or during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, your employer is still required to pay you the correct minimum wage. They cannot ask you to work off the clock or overtime without paying you overtime wages. If your employer is violating wage and hour laws during Black Friday or the holiday weekend, it is important that you contact an experienced California employment attorney to obtain more information about your legal rights and options.
Ways in Which Employers Violate Labor Laws on Black Friday
Regardless of whether it's Black Friday or not, if your employer violates California or federal labor laws, you can file a lawsuit seeking compensation. Some of the common wage and hour violations that occur on Black Friday and other holidays include:
- Refusing to pay overtime wages
- Asking employees to gear up for big events such as Black Friday off the clock
- Putting pressure on employees to work through meal breaks or rest breaks
- Not giving workers tips they earn over the holidays
- Misclassifying workers as "exempt" workers or independent contractors to avoid paying minimum wage or overtime
Can Your Employer Retaliate Against You?
It is important to understand that your employer cannot retaliate against you if you have reported wage and hour violations. For example, your employer cannot fire, lay off or demote you, give you a poor performance review or cut your pay simply because you reported a wage and hour violation. If your employer has retaliated against you for reporting a wage violation in the context of Black Friday or otherwise, reach out to an experienced employment attorney in Los Angeles to obtain more information about pursuing your rights.
What Can I Do If My Employer Owed Me Unpaid Wages?
If your employer does not pay you overtime, minimum wage or keeps your tips, you can file a wage claim or lawsuit against them. You can file a wage claim with the nearest Labor Commissioner's Office. In this process, you will be asked to provide the Labor Commissioner with proof of the alleged violation such as paystubs, time records and other employer-employee communications. Once the investigation is completed, the Labor Commissioner's Office will impose penalties if the employer is found to have committed wage violations.
You can also file a wage and hour lawsuit against your employer. Instead of approaching the Labor Commissioner's Office, you may be able to settle with your employer out of court or take the case to trial. If you are successful, you may be able receive damages for your loss including unpaid wages, attorney's fees, court costs and compensation for pain and suffering and emotional distress.
Contacting an Experienced California Wage and Hour Lawyer
If you are facing Black Friday abuse in a retail setting or if you believe that your employer has shortchanged you overtime or other pay, it is critical that you contact an experienced California employment lawyer right away. The knowledgeable wage and hour lawyers at Kingsley & Kingsley Lawyers are here to help guide you through what can be a challenging process and help you secure justice and fair compensation for your losses. Call us to schedule a no-cost consultation and case evaluation.