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WAGE CLAIMS (2018)

Studies show that as many as 4 out of 5 employees are the victims of wage theft.

If you are an employee, your employer is required by law to give you:

Rest Breaks

  • - a 10-minute paid rest break if you work more than 3.5 hours in a day
  • - a second 10-minute paid rest break if you work more than 6 hours in a day

Meal Breaks

  • - a 30-minute meal break if you work more than 5 hours in a day
  • - a second 30-minute meal break if you work more than 10 hours in a day

Overtime

  • - time and a half if you work

 

    • a) more than 8 hours in a day,
    • b) more than 40 hours in a week, or
    • c) seven days in a row in a work week

 

  • - double time if you work

 

    • a) more than 12 hours in a day, or
    • b) more than 8 hours on the seventh day in a row in a work week

Last Paycheck

If you have been terminated or laid off, you are entitled to receive your final wages upon termination or on your last day of work.

If you resign, you are entitled to receive your final paycheck within 72 hours after your last day of work.

You final wages must include any unpaid vacation pay (but not sick leave pay).

Tips

A manager or supervisor (even if part-time) is not legally allowed to take from your tips or the tip pool. The law treats this as tip theft.

Driving Mileage Reimbursements

If you are required to drive from your employer's office to a job site, your employer is required to pay you a mileage reimbursement at the IRS standard mileage rate. As of January 1, 2015, that rate is 57.5 cents per mile. If your employer has failed to do this, your claim could be large - thousands of dollars.

Deductions

Your employer is not permitted to take deductions out of your paycheck unless you have agreed to it in writing. Even if your employer has loaned you money, he cannot make any deductions without your written consent. If this is occurring, you are entitled to recover not only the moneys that were deducted, but any attorney fees you have incurred.

Retaliation

If you complain to your employer or the Labor Board about any of the above wage violations, the law prohibits retaliation against you. Retaliation could include a reduction of your work hours, demotion, pay cuts, suspension, termination, etc. If you are the victim of retaliation, you are entitled to file a retaliation complaint with the California Labor Board.

 

 

FILING YOUR LABOR BOARD COMPLAINT (2018)

Filing a wage complaint with the California Department of Labor Standards Enforcement (otherwise known as the Labor Board or DLSE), can take as little as 30 minutes on the phone.

Even if you believe you are owed as little as a few hundred dollars, the penalties that apply under the California Labor Code can be thousands of dollars. Penalties include waiting time penalties, liquidated damages penalties, bounced check penalties, etc.

What You Need to File a Complaint

If you have any of the following documents, please have them ready when you call:

How Long the Complaint Process Takes

Resolving your wage complaint can take as little as a few weeks to as many as a few years. There are many factors involved, including how complicated your complaint is, how backlogged the commissioner and labor board office assigned to your case is, how willing your employer is to settle, whether your employer decides to appeal, etc.

The Steps in the Complaint Process

The first step is to fill out a Form 1 labor board complaint. You will typically need to also fill out a Form 55 attachment that sets out each amount you are owed for each pay period you worked for the employer. If you have a retaliation claim, you will also need to fill out a Form RCI-1.

If you need help with these forms, call us at (213) 992-3299 as the forms can be more complicated than they appear. Incorrect complaints are typically rejected by the labor board and need to be corrected before they can be re-filed. The re-filing process can take weeks or months. We can prepare the forms correctly for you in as little as a few hours.

Next, you need to file your complaint with the correct DLSE office. There are 19 regional DLSE offices assigned to the various cities in California. Which DLSE office you must apply to depends on which city you worked in. Again, this can be trickier than it first seems, as the office that is closest to the city where you worked isn't always the correct DLSE office to file in. Also DLSE office city assignments are subject to change. Filing with the wrong DLSE office can cause months of delay and often requires that you simply re-file your complaint with the correct DLSE office.

If you need help with this, give us a call at (213) 992-3299. We can ensure your complaints are filed with the correct DLSE office.

After your complaint is filed, you will receive a notice of conference from the labor board, typically in 1 to 2 months. At the conference, which you, your employer, and/or your attorneys are required to attend, the commissioner will ask questions, confirm information, and finalize your labor board complaint, which you will then sign.

After that, the final hearing (trial) takes place, in as little as a few months to as long as 1 year after the conference. You will typically have to request subpoenas from the labor board and have them personally served on your employer and any witnesses to ensure you have the evidence you need to win your trial. At trial, you must present to the hearing officer a copy of all documents and provide all witnesses required to support your claim.

The hearing officer will issue an ODA (order, decision or adjudication) within 15 days after the trial. The parties will then have 10 to 15 days to appeal. If there is an appeal, the whole process starts completely over, except this time, your complaint is transferred from the labor board to a judge in civil court.

If you have won your trial and/or any appeal, you will then be issued a judgment. Then you must begin your collection efforts. The labor board may or may not assist you with collection, depending on your claim and your employer.

If you need assistance with any of the above, give us a call anytime at (213) 992-3299 and talk to an expert now.

 

DLSE Offices

Oakland
(Headquarters)

1515 Clay Street,
Room 401

Oakland, CA 94612

Redding
250 Hemsted Drive,
2nd Floor, Suite A

Redding, CA 96002

Santa Ana
605 West Santa Ana Blvd., Bldg. 28,
Room 625

Santa Ana, CA 92701

Bakersfield
7718 Meany Ave
Bakersfield, CA 93308

Sacramento
2031 Howe Avenue,
Suite 100

Sacramento, CA 95825

Santa Barbara
411 E. Canon Perdido,
Room 3

Santa Barbara, CA 93101

El Centro
1550 W. Main St.
El Centro, CA 92243

Salinas
1870 N. Main St.,
Suite 150

Salinas, CA 93906

Santa Rosa
50 "D" Street,
Suite 360

Santa Rosa, CA 95404

Fresno
770 E. Shaw Avenue,
Ste. 222

Fresno, CA 93710

San Bernardino
464 W. Fourth Street,
Room 348

San Bernardino, CA 92401

Stockton
31 E. Channel Street,
Room 317

Stockton, CA 95202

Long Beach
300 Oceangate,
Suite 302

Long Beach, CA 90802

San Diego
7575 Metropolitan Dr.,
Room 210

San Diego, CA 92108

Van Nuys
6150 Van Nuys Blvd.,
Room 206

Van Nuys, CA 91401

Los Angeles
320 W. Fourth Street,
Suite 450

Los Angeles, CA 90013

San Francisco
455 Golden Gate Ave.,
10th Floor

San Francisco, CA 94102

 

Oakland
1515 Clay Street,
Suite 801

Oakland, CA 94612

San Jose
100 Paseo de San Antonio,
Room 120

San Jose, CA 95113

107 Comments

  1. Mike Archambault on April 19, 2018 at 8:27 pm

    My pay periods are every 2 weeks. I work 80 hours plus overtime. The company pays me to change into a uniform and ppe equipment. M pay stubs show 77 hours and 3 hours on the uniform line. I thought it was against the law to manipulate my time card . Thanks for your time

    • Eugene Lee on April 20, 2018 at 4:02 am

      I’m not sure I understand, but if your employer is changing your time cards to take away your overtime, then that is definitely illegal. You should consider filing a labor board claim.

  2. Markian Senyk on April 18, 2018 at 8:35 am

    I worked as a contractor in Ukraine for a California registered company. The CEO/owner of the company has refused to pay me anything at all. What are my next steps to get paid?

    • Eugene Lee on April 18, 2018 at 8:28 pm

      If you worked in Ukraine, you could still file a labor board complaint with the California labor board IF you are a resident of the State of California. However, the ultimate answer is very fact-dependent as your question involves the intersection of a lot of different types of laws. You would probably be best off contacting a lawyer

      • Markian Senyk on April 20, 2018 at 8:41 am

        Thank you Eugene. I’m not a CA resident. So I’ll look for a lawyer.

  3. Angela hughes on March 30, 2018 at 2:53 pm

    Not claiming he has employees , lieing saying he has no employees , not paying payroll taxes and not having employees claim their tips and pay taxes on them

    • Eugene Lee on April 11, 2018 at 2:37 pm

      Sounds like you have multiple grounds to file a labor board complaint. You should also consider calling the IRS tax fraud hotline to report tax fraud due to the employer’s failure to pay payroll taxes and report taxes properly.

  4. Christopher Nilsen on March 22, 2018 at 1:36 pm

    I have no idea what my legal rights are to this unlawful termination

  5. Margot on March 18, 2018 at 6:47 pm

    I worked 12.25 hours for a dental office and was suppose to be paid and it’s been over 3 weeks and still have not been paid. They were notified 2 weeks ago and said they would send a check that day however , they have not!!

    • Eugene Lee on April 11, 2018 at 2:40 pm

      Without question, you should file a labor board complaint and get that going right away. The employer has to provide you your last check on the your last day worked if you were terminated or quit with notice, or 72 hours later if you quit without notice. There is a penalty that accrues up to 30 days of wages for each day the last check is late.

  6. HARRY JHUN EDQUID on March 16, 2018 at 2:53 am

    I was hired and work in the company last Jan.16,2017 Enersys Union City….with 3 Romanian Nationality from Manager,Supervisor and co-technician son of the manager.And then last Aug. 01 I called and sick bcoz my right metatarsal joint was swollen and painful.I went in the doctor to have a checked up and he send me to get X-ray and MRI of my foot.And then when the doctor got the result he recommend for a surgery.I informed my work admin I wasn’t able to go back to work bcoz I have a surgery on Aug.25 for implant fission of my metatarsal joint.That time I have 28hrs left on my vacation and I’m not qualified to take FMLA bcoz I need to work in the company in one year.And then they told me a Short Term Disability….I apply and they approved my STD from Aug.01,207 to Jan.29,2018.I informed HR about my returning to work and I was cleared by the doctor.The doctor gave them also a note that im going back to work on Jan.30 with restriction not to lift more than 10lbs in one month from the date of my first day in the job bcoz I have implant plate in my right metatarsal joint.After that HR answer my email and she said she talk my manager and supervisor and we won’t let you to go back to work for now bcoz I have restriction.On your job description as field service technician is you need to lift up to 50lbs on daily basis.After that HR send me a letter and I received it Feb.02,2018 HR said after the time frame of your unpaid vacation from Aug.01 to Jan.29 you supposed to go back to work Jan.30.Your doctor approved you restriction for one month and the company are not giving you a accommodation in your restriction or give you a additional leave.As a result the company ending your employment effective Feb.01,2018.

    May I know if it is legal to terminated me for my one month restriction given by my doctor? It’s that legal to talk on their own language and laugh at me.They called me DAMN ASS….YOU DONT KNOW SHIT…..in front of the customer? Then I’m using the company tools the son of the manager told me if break that tools “I WILL KILL YOU”.I report that in the supervisor but he didn’t make a report bcoz they are the same nationality.I suffered a lot of things to those people it’s really hard to forget they treat me like shit

  7. Aaron egger on March 5, 2018 at 11:27 pm

    Left a long comment earlier

    • Eugene Lee on April 18, 2018 at 8:29 pm

      Aaron, I don’t see your comment, sorry. Can you re-post?

  8. Aaron egger on March 5, 2018 at 11:26 pm

    I sent one earlier

  9. William on February 5, 2018 at 11:57 pm

    Can I do anything about a employer and employees dispute with out any proper papers basically under the table situation my last week differs from his $100.00 and some tools of mine in this situation or is it a waste of time and resources over holiday/pay wages

    • Eugene Lee on April 11, 2018 at 2:42 pm

      Yes, you can still file a labor board claim even if you worked “under the table”. Even if you are an illegal immigrant, you still have legal standing to file a labor board complaint and have the protections of the labor code. The labor board has expressly stated that they intend to protect illegal immigrants and others from labor code violations. In my experience, filing a claim is not a waste of time/resources.

  10. Tejel Lawson on January 25, 2018 at 9:08 am

    I have earrings my employer refuses to pay. This is two pay periods in a row. Obviously I no longer work for them. The system is set up so that you can only communicate with and house staff by a male there is no phone contact of any kind with any personnel from the organization. They lie and stone wall the employees NEVER talking responsibility or action to fix the problem.

    • Eugene Lee on April 11, 2018 at 2:43 pm

      Two words of advice:
      1. make sure to communicate with the employer in writing (text, email, fax, letter). That way you have a paper trail of evidence to prove you are owed money.
      2. file a labor board complaint right away. The complaint process can sometimes take a while, so the sooner you get it going, the better.

  11. Kara J on January 24, 2018 at 8:05 pm

    My previous employer had recently set up an office in California with the headquarters in Virginia. They were clearly unaware of California laws. I resigned from my position with 2 weeks notice. I was told that the company would not pay out for accrued PTO days, however, they eventually agreed to pay it once I disputed and made it clear to them what the California laws are. However, that wasn’t the only law they weren’t aware of. I did not receive my final pay check until the following payroll (2 weeks later). The direct deposit I received was also missing 8 hours that were due. When I brought up this issue with HR, she agreed to pay out the remainder of my final wages 2 more additional weeks later at the next payroll. Because they probably aren’t aware of the final paycheck laws in California, I reached out to HR to explain the waiting time penalties due. Unfortunately, I am not getting a response. Can I file a wage claim for this? Am I entitled to 28 days of waiting time fees?

    • Eugene Lee on April 11, 2018 at 2:44 pm

      Yes and, assuming you’ve calculated correctly, yes. You might consider talking to an attorney, as attorneys can usually spot more violations that laypeople aren’t aware of, e.g., missing information on paystubs, etc.

  12. Kara J on January 24, 2018 at 8:03 pm

    My previous employer had recently set up an office in California with the headquarters in Virginia. They were clearly unaware of California laws. I resigned from my position with 2 weeks notice. I was told that the company would not pay out for accrued PTO days, however, they eventually agreed to pay it once I disputed and made it clear to them what the California laws are. However, that wasn’t the only law they weren’t aware of. I did not receive my final pay check until the following payroll (2 weeks later). The direct deposit I received was also missing 8 hours that were due. When I brought up this issue with HR, she agreed to pay out the remainder of my final wages 2 more additional weeks later at the next payroll. Because they probably aren’t aware of the final paycheck laws in California, I reached out to HR to explain the waiting time penalties due. Unfortunately, I am not getting a response. Can I file a wage claim for this? Am I entitled to 28 days of waiting time fees?

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