Personal Injury Law
What if I am Not Paid for My Work?
If you are not paid at least the minimum wage for all hours you have worked, the California Labor Code provides liquidated damages in addition to the wages you are owed. Liquidated damages equal the minimum wage for all hours you weren’t paid. If you were paid for some hours at a rate below the minimum wage, liquidated damages equal the difference between the actual minimum wage and what you were paid.
What if My Final Paycheck Does Not Pay for all of My Work?
Example 1: Yuri earns minimum wage as a security guard. He worked 5 hours on Friday, but the timeclock was broken. He was only paid for 3 hours of work. He is entitled to 2 hours of minimum wage as wages owed. Separately, he is entitled to an additional 2 hours of liquidated damages equal to the minimum wage.
Example 2: Beatriz earns $20 per hour at a large retail employer. Last week, she was paid just $10 per hour. She is entitled to $10 an hour for 40 hours as wages owed. Separately, she is entitled to an additional 40 hours of liquidated damages at $3 per hour, since she was paid only part of the minimum wage.
Example 3: Dominic earns $13 per hour as a teacher’s aide. Last week, he worked 50 hours. He was paid $13 for every hour he worked, but was not paid overtime for the 10 hours he worked beyond 40 that week. He is entitled to 10 hours at $6.50 per hour as overtime owed. However, he is not entitled to any liquidated damages for these 10 hours, because he was paid the full minimum wage for all hours worked.
If you are terminated by your employer, you must be paid all wages due at the time of termination. It doesn’t matter if your employer had good cause to terminate you. You are entitled to what you have earned.
If you quit your employment, you must be paid all wages due within 72 hours of your resignation. It doesn’t matter if your employer is upset that you are leaving. You are entitled to what you have earned.
If you have to wait for any portion of your wages for any amount of time after they are due, you are entitled to waiting time penalties. These equal one full day of pay for every day you wait for the wages you are owed, up to a maximum of 30 days.
Example 1: Violet is a bus driver. She earns $25 per hour and works 8 hours per day. On August 31, she got into an argument with her manager and was fired for insubordination. The manager told her that she would get her final check when she apologized. On September 8, Violet reluctantly apologized and the manager mailed her check. She received it on September 10. Violet had to wait 10 days to receive wages that were due immediately upon termination. She earned $200 per day, and is entitled to a $2,000 waiting time penalty.
Example 2: Harinder is a registered nurse. He earns $50 per hour, and works 14 hours per shift, 3 times per week. He quits his job on November 1. On November 4, he receives his final check in the mail, but it is short by 2 hours. He tells payroll of the error, and they promise to correct it. They finally send him the difference on December 15. Harinder’s daily wage rate includes overtime and double time he would typically earn. Here, it is $900 per day. Beginning November 4, he waited more than 30 days to receive payment. He is entitled to a $27,000 waiting time penalty.