I worked for a cafe about full time for maybe a total of 3 weeks. My boss was incredibly intimidating and frankly, was the reason I just stopped showing up. I was so scared of him I never went in to collect my paycheck, and I havent spoken to him at all. However, a year later I find myself in a tough spot. I was never paid for my work at this place of business, but it has been about a year since all this happened. Is there anything legally holding me back from receiving my paycheck if I call and request it, even if its been a year?
You are still owed the money, and I can't imagine the statute of limitations has run, so I don't see any reason you can't get it. Your boss should have mailed it to you.
Since you don't want to see him again, I'd suggest you call and ask him to mail it to you. He'll likely decline, at which time you can tell him you'll be seeking the assistance of your state labor or employment department; if that doesn't get you a check, I would call them. They may be able to resolve this with a call or two.
My advice, of course, is general and based on very little knowledge of your personal situation, and I am licensed to practice law only in Idaho, Utah and Wyoming. You should retain legal counsel and review you situation with him or her, if it has significant financial or other implications. <a href="http://www.haolaw.com" target="_blank">Visit www.haolaw.com!</a>
The statute of limitations for filing a legal claim for unpaid wages is 3 years in California. I think it is a good idea to call the owner of the restaurant and request payment, but as my colleague says, you will probably not receive a good response. I would follow the phone call up with a certified letter, giving the employer a deadline to pay your final wages. If not paid, mention that you will be filing a complaint with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement and also be asking for waiting time penalties, which is the equivalent of a day's pay for a maximum of 30 days.
You should be thinking in terms of how you will be able to prove you were not paid for the final pay period. Did you save your pay stubs? Your work schedule? Were the wages included in your W-2 for tax reporting purposes? You can request a copy of your pay records and hours worked under the California Labor Code, per section 226(c). Do this in writing and keep a copy of your letter.
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.
Yes. But are you saying you never received a single paycheck from this former employer?
California Labor Code § 204: “Labor performed between the 1st and 15th day of any calendar month shall be paid between the 16th and 26th day of the month during which the labor was performed; and labor performed between the 16th day and the last day of the month shall be paid between the 1st and 10th day of the following month. Based upon the California Labor Code, an employer is absolutely required to pay an employee. The employer's failure to do so is a violation of the California Labor Code, and also subjects the employer to pay "waiting time penalties".
Under California Labor Code §203, an employer may be liable for a “waiting time” penalty of up to 30 days of pay for the employer’s willful failure to pay wages due a discharged or quitting employee. The penalty applies to the willful failure to pay "any wages," which refers to the definition of "wages" in California Labor Code Section 200. The penalty is measured at the employee’s daily rate of pay and is calculated by multiplying the daily wage by the number of days that the employee was not paid, up to a maximum of 30 days.
You have 3 years to file a wage claim for the unpaid wages with the California Labor Commissioner. File the claim either by mail or in person with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) office that handles wage claims for the city/location/community where the work was performed.
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.
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