Unpaid Wages: It’s not Civil Penalties that Employees can Recovers under California Law

Recovers under California Law
Recovers under California Law

Unpaid wages commonly define as wage theft by the employer. If employers purposely misclassify the employees legally entitled wage, that’s called an unpaid wage. Here legally entitled wage means that employees earned wages like overtime work, commissions, termination, bonuses, and particular off-the-clock work. In the actual means is unpaid wages as a violation of the California Labor Code, for that violation has no civil penalties. Still, employers are slapped with additional fines or penalties.

In California, if an employer failed to pay wage, then the employee can take an unpaid wage claim that is a legal action brought to recover wages. In the type of damage to legitimate action employee can a wage claim with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE), or a wage and hour lawsuit in court or a wage claim with a federal agency.

In that context, the employees should able to file a lawsuit or a claim with the California Labor Commissioner to recover what they are owed. But it is much more stressful matter to bringing a claim against an employer, so they should take consultation from an experienced unpaid wage lawyer to determine their potential legal options.

Types of Unpaid Wage Claims in California:

Timely payment:

If any employees discharged from work, then the employer must be paid their legally entitled wage. In this case, under California wage and hours law, the employers will be obliged to pay within 72 hours of the employee’s last working day. If it’s not a possible employer must give with additional payments on their determined day, but this process must be done with the consent of the employees. On the other hand, if it will be except for any unreasonable causes, the employee can take legal action against the employer.

Unpaid overtime:

According to the California Labor Law, the employer must be paid 1.5 times to the basic salary of employees for each hour of overtime, when employees work done more than 8 hours in a workday & 40 hours in the workweek. But it’s termed only accessible for non-exempt employees.

Right to meal and rest breaks:

Under the California labor law, Rest and meal breaks depend on the total hours an employee work in workdays. If employees work more than five hours in workaday, then the employer must provide at least a 30-minutes meal break and must allow a minimum ten minutes rest break. And when if employees work for more than ten hours, the employer must provide two meals and rest breaks in workday.

 Penalties for Unpaid Wages Claim in California:

Although there have no civil penalties for an unpaid wage claim, California labor law strictly ensures employee rights. If the employer has been convicted for an unpaid wage claim, they have to provide proper compensation with some additional penalties fee. Here below are mentioned unpaid wage claim’s penalties.

 Meal period violations: In this fact, the employer must provide some additional one hour pay for missed meal periods.

Rest break violations: In this case, also be paid a one-hour additional wage.

Minimum wage violation: when the employer violates the minimum wage policy, they must provide an equal amount of unpaid wage compensation.

Overtimes violation: In that case, employees can get double compensation according to their regular salary.

Sick leave violations: If these types of allegations are proven, then the employers can get a maximum of up to $ 4,000 compensation. Even in that case, the employer can get $ 250 to each unpaid sick leave.

Paystub violations: In this case, the employer can enable up to $4,000 in compensation. But if the employer first violates the paystub rule, they provide $50, and it will increase subsequently.

Waiting time penalties: In that case, the employer can take a time maximum of 30 days with the consent of employers. Otherwise, if the employer violates for any unreasonable cause, they must provide employees with the regular wage for each day late.


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