California Employment Law
Have California Employment Law Questions? Ask a Lawyer.
Good afternoon Kate,I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of your situation. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today. In order to give you a clear and concise answer, I will need some additional information about the circumstances, please.1. Are you a salary exempt employee, or are you hourly?2. Does your employee have a sick leave policy and give you sick days---or do you only have PTO.3. What do you mean, that they deducted for days you went negative in your PTO? Are you saying that they discovered that you had missed days in other pay periods that you didn't;t have PTO for and deducted from your wages not in a former pay period when the absences occurred but in a later pay period?Doug
I'm a salaried employee and there is no sick policy, just PTO. I wasn't informed that I had gone negative until I went sick. Our pay periods are 1-15th and 16-31st. Apparently I went negative prior to the 15th pay period but still was paid in full for that pay period. On the next pay period I was out one day for the funeral and for being sick, but they deducted not only the days I was out in the 16th-31st period but also the days I had gone negative prior to that and had been paid for. Also, if I am checking in or working even for an hour of the day as a salaried employee, can they count the whole day as PTO?
Yes, I'm exempt
You may actually sue the employer in court and recover your wages. Additionally, if you sue in court, under federal laws (FLSA), you are also entitled to seek what is called Liquidated damages. Liquidated damages is equal to the amount of back wages that they owe you and must be paid in addition to the wages themselves---so you essentially get double the wages owed you in the claim based on their willful failure to pay you. Additionally, you will be entitled to be awarded costs of the court as well as your attorney fees incurred in filing suit and litigating it against your employer. http://labor-employment-law.lawyers.com/wage-and-hour-law/Liquidated-Damages-and-FLSA-Claims.html
A recent law signed by the CA Governor, allows CA employees to seek liquidated damages when making a claim to the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE), just as they could if suing in court initially. So in CA whether you make a claim to the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, or file an action in court on your own, you may seek liquidated damages. Here is a link to an article on the change---good for CA employees, but bad for CA employers: http://www.shawvalenza.com/publications.php?id=343
The award of liquidated damages is mandatory unless employer shows that (A) act or omission giving rise to violation was in good faith and (B) the employer had reasonable grounds for believing that act or omission was not a violation of 29 U.S.C.A. § 216(b). This is a very difficult standard for the employer to meet.
Here is an excellent article which deals with pursuing an FLSA claim---which you may do in either state court or federal court. Do take the time to review it:
Thank you for the answers, however, the articles seem old and only relating to FLSA, and the one that is most helpful is another lawyers blog relating to sick pay from 2007. Any resources from CA? If I am going to be pushing back on my employer I'd like to have as much information to show them and it's still not clear to me since there's a lot of talk about 4 hour increments. If I only work an hour of a day, can I be charged PTO, that would be considered less than 4 hours, which some of the information says they can. Also, the sick plan vs PTO is confusing. If there is no sick plan can't they force you to use PTO and if you run out of PTO being out sick they can't still deduct from your wages or consider those days unpaid?
It was somewhat helpful, getting blogs from other attorneys wasn't super helpful as I don't think that is something I could really go to my employer with, I was looking for more official sources. Some of the information seemed vague and contradictory, especially pertaining to the sick vs PTO information and I can't really afford to actually hire an attorney right now to try to pursue the wages. I do appreciate the answers you gave and it did help a little, but just not as concrete as I was hoping for.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).