Hello and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question. I am so sorry to heat that you were let go and have had trouble receiving pay for your work.
According to California Labor Code 201, an employee is entitled to payment of all wages earned IMMEDIATELY
upon his or her termination. An employer who fails to pay an employee all wages earned immediately upon termination will typically be penalized in the amount of the employee's daily rate of pay for each day that payment of wages goes unmade up to 30 days.
For example, if an employee's average daily rate of pay was $100 and the employee was fired but not paid for 5 days, the employee would be entitled to a $500 penalty payment against their employer in addition to the wages owed.
An individual in your circumstance may also very well have a claim for defamation against the person who made false accusations of theft. An employee terminated as a result of defamatory statements made may be entitled to collect damages in the form of lost wages. However, the employee as a plaintiff will bear the burden of proving that the statements were actually false and that they directly resulted in termination.
Unfortunately, an employer is free to terminate an employee on the basis of false information, and so no legal cause of action for wrongful termination would arise where an employee is terminated following a false accusation of theft.
This is unfortunately so because, absent an employment contract guaranteeing employment for a specified period of time, employment in the state of California is presumed to be "at will." More specifically, California Labor Code Section 2922 provides that: "employment, having no specified term, may be terminated at the will of either party on notice to the other."
Courts have held this to mean that an employer is free to terminate employees for any reason whatsoever
, even a reason that is entirely unfair, unless the underlying motivation is discriminatory or otherwise in violation of California law.
So to summarize, an employee in your circumstance would be entitled to a final payment of wages immediately upon termination and a penalty assessment in the amount of the employee's daily rate of pay for each day that payment goes unmade. An employee in your circumstance may also be entitled to collect damages in the form of loss wages arising from a claim for defamation. Unfortunately, however, a claim for wrongful termination would not typically arise on the facts described because, pursuant to the doctrine of at will employment, an employer is free to terminate an employee for any reason whatsoever, even for unfair or untrue reasons.
To file a wage claim with the Department of Labor Standards Enforcement for late payment of final wages, visit this link: http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/howtofilewageclaim.htm
I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX this information helps you and I wish you the best.
My absolute greatest concern
is that you are satisfied with the answer I provide, so please do not hesitate to contact me with follow-up questions. Also, please bear in mind that none of the above constitutes legal advice nor is any attorney client relationship created between us.