I worked for a start-up company that ran into funding issues. Now a year later, they owe me about 70,000 in salary/bonus/vacation owed. I did not get back pay after I turned in my notice, and now a few months later, they wish to settle for 40% of my owed pay so I would release them from future obligations.
Now, I'm uncertain that I'll get all that money under a judgement if I fill a claim, and I've seen a lawyer who says that this is a case of low risk, high payoff. Several people in my boat have all filed claims and gotten conflicting judgement (some happy, some not). I've also had a previous co-worker who signed the release on advice from his lawyer that they would not get a better deal.
So I'm conflicted on which path to take (file unpaid wage claim or go to a lawyer?)
Regardless of whether you hire a private attorney or file a wage claim with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, there is no guarantee that you will ever get paid even if you obtained a judgment.
For that reason, it is almost always better to reach a settlement whereby you are ensured payment rather than have a judgment that you then still need to enforce. Is the start up company still in business? Will it continue to survive?
Generally speaking, you will get a faster result with an attorney than by making a wage claim with the DLSE.
Frank W. Chen is licensed to practice law in the State of California. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, consult your own attorney.
Years licensed, work experience, educationLegal community recognition
Peer endorsements, associations, awardsLegal thought leadership
Publications, speaking engagementsDiscipline