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In California, workers who have not been paid all earned wages can legally file a wage claim against their employer. Once this wage claim has been filed, it begins the collection process of employee benefits and unpaid wages. California employment lawyers are available to assist with the completing and filing of this claim form.

Is There a Penalty for Unpaid Wages in California? 

Employers who neglect to pay their workers the wages they have earned are assessed a penalty measured at the employee’s rate of pay. The penalty is determined by calculating the employee’s daily rate of pay by the total days not paid. Calculation includes all unpaid days up to the maximum amount of thirty days. 

Can I be Terminated for Reporting Unpaid Wages? 

At no time is it legal for an employer to react negatively in retaliation for the report of unpaid wages? Thus, employers are not allowed to fire employees who exercise the right to file a lawsuit for unpaid wages. California law protects employees from the threat of losing their job if the primary reason is an unpaid wage or benefits suit. 

Wage Employers are Obligated to Pay Employees in California 

In California, it is the law that mandates an employer pays their employees a minimum of twice monthly. Should you experience layoff or termination, there are stringent deadlines employers must comply with regarding final pay. 

The following guidelines are used in determining whether an employer violates these deadlines:

  • Did the employee receive all earned wages within 24 hours of layoff or termination?
  • The employee gave a 72-hour notice before quitting but has yet to receive all wages earned.
  • The employee did not give a 72-hour notice before quitting, yet still has unpaid wages due.
  • The employer had the employee sign a “release” or “waiver” to the right to receive any wages due them.
  • Overtime wages were earned, however, the employee has not received any overtime pay in the final paycheck.
  • The employer failed to visibly post a notice regarding when paydays are and how often.
  • The employee is doing farm labor and was not paid a minimum of once weekly on a designated business day of the week. This day must have been assigned in advance. 

Besides the above rules regarding timely wage payment, other industries have specific rules and regulations. If you worked in the agriculture, the movie or entertainment industry, or any performance venue contact an employment lawyer immediately. 

Contact an Employment Lawyer in California

If any of the above points can be related to your current (or past) employment in California, contact an employment lawyer. With the current state of our economy, many people are facing layoffs due to company closures. Find a California employment lawyer to ensure you get the wages you have earned.

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