I was promised a specific pay rate upon accepting a position and now I am just getting the run-around???

Asked over 1 year ago - Long Beach, CA

I recently took the staffing agency I worked for to the labor board regarding a pay rate discrepancy. I felt that I had enough documented emails showing that they were not paying me what they promised and that I consistently attempted to communicate with them about it for over 5 months. Unfortunately the meeting at the labor board did not favor me. They stated that the labor board only handles minimun wage cases. Is this true? If so what is the next step I can take in order to resolve this and collect the money I am owed?

Attorney answers (5)

  1. Michael Robert Kirschbaum

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree


    Answered . No, it is not true that the Labor Commission only handles minimum wage cases. It has the authority to handle cases involving any wage rate. I don't know why anyone would say that to you. It is possible that what you were told was that unless there is an enforceable contract for a set wage, the employer has no obligation to pay anything more than minimum wage. If there was an issue as to whether there was a binding contract for the wage rate you are claiming, this may have been the position of the deputy.

    If the case has been dismissed, your remaining option is to file a case in court. If the amount is under $10,000, for can file a case in small claims court for breach of contract. But the burden is on you to prove there was a contract to pay you at the rate you are claiming.

    They say you get what you pay for, and this response is free, so take it for what it is worth. This is my opinion... more
  2. Agavni Gina Hogtanian

    Contributor Level 10


    Lawyers agree


    Answered . This sounds more like a breach of contract action. Is there anything in writing supporting the employer's agreement to pay the rate you claim - an agreement, or anything in the email traffic? Consult with a litigation attorney as soon as possible. And yes, if the amount at issue is under $10,000, you can file a small claims action, where you would need to do your best on your own, without any attorney, to present your evidence and prove your case. Good luck!

    Nothing in this response is intended as a legal consultation or advice on your particular case, and is provided... more
  3. Marilynn Mika Spencer

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree


    Answered . That is really peculiar. I hope you misunderstood something because it anyone who works for the Labor Commissioner (Division of Labor Standards Enforcement or DLSE) said it only handles minimum wage cases, that is truly frightening. The DLSE is a sub-agency within the California Department of Industrial Relations. http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/. The DLSE enforces California's wage and hour laws, including those pertaining to overtime, rest and meal breaks, and more.

    What was this meeting? Was it the informal settlement conference, which is a discussion? Or a hearing, with testimony and evidence?

    If it was the former and the case did not settle, which obviously it didn't, your best bet is to consult with one or more experienced employment law attorneys with whom you can discuss the details of your situation.

    You may fare better at a hearing where you can show your evidence than at the informal conference.

    If you are owed wages and require an attorney to recover those wages, the employer must pay your attorney's fees.

    Employment law is complicated and fact-specific. You may wish to consult with an experienced plaintiffs employment lawyer. To find a plaintiffs employment attorney in California, please go to the web site of the California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA). CELA is the largest and most influential bar association in the state for attorneys who represent working people. The web site is www.cela.org. Click on "Find a CELA Member" and you can search by location and practice area. Many CELA attorneys represent clients throughout the state.

    I hope you can resolve your situation and wish you the best.

    twitter.com/MikaSpencer *** All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the... more
  4. James Carl Eschen III

    Contributor Level 16


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I am confused. Were these promises made to you when you accepted a position with the staffing agency or when you accepted each position to which the staffing agency assigned you? If the former, then you knew what they paid by the time that you got paid the first time. After that, despite their earlier promises, you worked at the lower rate.

    On the other hand, if they make the misrepresentations when assigning you to a position, then you have many different promises, and the agency is bound by each one.

    The temporary services agency that I worked for many years ago misrepresented either the pay or the nature of the work every time they sent me somewhere.

  5. David Andrew Mallen

    Contributor Level 14


    Lawyers agree


    Answered . False promises can lead to a breach of contract claim.

    However, an employer can unilaterally change the pay of an employee at any time in the future, as long as the employer gives notice. Your continuing to work can be interpreted as an implied acceptance of the new terms of employment. Yes, that is a very harsh rule for employees, I know, but there it is.

    It sounds like you really need free consultation with a lawyer to sort out the facts and law.

    Best regards,

    David A. Mallen

    David A. Mallen offers answers on Avvo for general information only. This offer of free, general answers is not... more

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