Under state regulations, employees who are classified as nonexempt must be paid at 1.5 times their regular rate of pay for the hours they work in excess of eight on a workday or 40 in a week. They must be paid double their normal hourly rate for the hours over 12 worked on any workday, as well.

These overtime laws apply to most nonexempt employees, but there are exceptions, such as employees whose regular schedule calls for four, 10-hour days per week.

Your overtime earnings must be paid promptly – no later than the next regularly scheduled payroll period after you earned the overtime. An employer can mandate that an employee work scheduled overtime. If the employee refuses, the employer is permitted, under most circumstances, to discipline the employee, including by termination of employment.

But under the law, your employer can’t deny your overtime pay, even if your supervisor didn’t expressly authorize it.

Under California’s law, employees must be paid for hours they are “suffered or permitted to work, whether or not required to do so.” That has been interpreted to mean that employers were aware, or should have been aware, that the employee was on the clock. (Conversely, an employee can’t hide the fact they worked overtime, then claim it on their timecard.)

California has these strict policies in place to protect employees, and while the overwhelming majority of employers follow the rules, there are those who don’t. If you haven’t received overtime that you are entitled to and your employer refuses to pay it, you have the legal right to pursue the compensation.