From an email we received recently:
Q: I know my employer is required to pay overtime when we work over eight hours per day, but they don't, and I am afraid I will lose my job if I speak out. Can they fire me for complaining about the overtime pay?
A: No. Demanding wages and reporting violations of wage and hour laws is protected conduct, favored by a fundamental public policy of the State of California. Retaliation or termination of an employee for demanding full payment of wages is a violation of public policy and supports a cause of action for wrongful termination. Gould v. Maryland Sound Industries, Inc. (1995) 31 Cal. App. 4th 1137, 1150; Phillips v. Gemini Moving Specialists (1998) 63 Cal. App. 4th 563.
We had a case a few years ago that would not have been worth taking but for the fact that the employee was fired for demanding about $1,500 in overtime pay. The case settled for many times what the employer owed in back pay.