Since last summer I have been reporting on minimum wage amendments proposed by various levels of government across the nation. In California, various cities have created their own minimum wage. Los Angeles has even created a separate minimum wage for certain hotel workers in hotels near the airport. Now, there is the issue of raising the pay level for the supervisory exemption for overtime under the Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA). 

California labor lawyers almost exclusively use California wage and hour statutes to prosecute wage violations. If Obama’s executive order becomes effective it will most likely be a greater protection against the supervisory exemption for overtime than California state law provides. In all aspects of employment law California state law is more favorable than the bare minimums guaranteed by federal labor law which are unfortunately the best protections some states have.

Today I wrote an article about this topic, and how for the first time in years the federal government is proposing a stronger labor law than California provides. The article can be found at:


If the executive order becomes law it will affect 3.1 million workers. As a nationwide labor lawyer representing employees, I have seen the greatest numbers of supervisory overtime abuse in the restaurant industry and among apartment managers. Unfortunately some nonprofits have also been guilty. I have personally represented a number of assistant restaurant managers who make very little money but are forced to work at large chain restaurants close to 100 hours a week.  This is modern day American sweat labor that needs to stop. The number of these types of cases has increased as businesses have realized they can obtain the labor hours of two full-time workers for the price of one.

As a small business owner myself I commiserate with unaffordable labor costs. There are law firms who do not pay overtime, who misclassify their attorneys as independent contractors in an attempt to avoid payroll taxes and benefits. For those of us who do not our profits may be smaller, but we are running our businesses the American way; honest and by the book.  Another way of looking at some of these labor reforms is they put the honest, ethical businesses on the same footing as crafty corporations looking for ways to undercut labor costs and unfairly compete with lawfully run enterprises.

Karl Gerber, licensed in California, District of Columbia, Massachusetts, and Texas