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Does a CA employer avoid CA Labor Codes 201 & 203 by discharging a CA employee via U.S. mail from out of state?

Los Angeles, CA |

Under California Labor Code 201, if an employer discharges an employee, the wages earned and unpaid at the time of discharge are due and payable immediately. Additionally, Labor Code 203 states, in part, if an employer willfully fails to pay, without abatement or reduction, in accordance with Sections of 201, 201.3, 201.5, 202 and 205.5, any wages of an employee who is discharged or who quits, the wages of the employee shall continue as a penalty.

When an employee has been discharged through a letter mailed from out of state and no final pay is included with the discharged notice, does the employer avoid requirements under Sections 201 and 203?

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Attorney answers 3


No. All wages must be paid upon termination or penalties of 1 days wages per day late up to 30 days apply.


Absolutely not. A check for the final wages should have been included in the letter.

This answer is a general interpretation of the law and is not fact specific to your case. Likewise it does not create an attorney-client relationship. You should seek an attorney for a review of your specific facts and documents.


It does not matter how the notice of termination was conveyed. It could have been done by carrier pigeon - the legal obligation to pay all earned wages on the effective day of termination remains the same. Waiting-time penalties now apply.

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 based on very limited information. My opinion should not be taken as legal advice. For true advice, we would require a confidential consultation where I would ask you questions and get your complete story. This is a public forum, so remember, nothing here is confidential. Nor am I your attorney. I do not know who you are and you have not hired me to provide any legal service. To do so would require us to meet and sign written retainer agreement. My responses are intended for general information only.