California Employment Law
Have California Employment Law Questions? Ask a Lawyer.
Partially paid because 1) the hourly rate had to be adjusted and 2) taxes had not been taken out of the check for $450. When I gave this check to employee I had no idea she was quitting. (she claimed I fired her too). I gave her this check under the belief I was paying her for the second pay period, not the first.
Yes, as it turned out she did work the hours. Work is a loose term. She presented her duties which were completely fabricated and not even applicable to her job description. Are we employers basically obligated to pay hourly rates even though they are not working whatsoever? Our only recourse is firing the employee? We are not able to reduce payment based on failure to perform?
Cathy,Thank you so much for your reply and clarification.You are correct that employers must pay for all time worked, regardless of whether it is productive or the employee is "slacking off" on the job. There is an important public policy behind this general principle, which is that if employee wages were subject to reduction if they did not work hard enough, that would effectively give employers carte blanche authority to retroactively adjust wages, rendering most wage agreements meaningless.I certainly appreciate your concern and frustration in the present instance and agree it is unfair to require payment made to an employee who was not performing, but to permit a reduction in this instance would leave the door open to abuse and undermine the very purpose of wage agreements on a broader scale. Thus, the only instance in which an employee may be denied pay is if actual time card fraud is suspected (i.e., the employee didn't even show up to work and simply wrote down non-worked hours) Otherwise, the employer's sole recourse is termination.As far as the payment of final wages is concerned, employees who quit must be paid within 72 hours of their notice of intent to quit, and employees who are fired must be paid immediately. However, wages that are subject to legitimate dispute are NOT subject to the penalty assesment for untimely payment. See Amaral v. Cintas Corp. No. 2, 163 Cal. App. 4th 1157 (2008) (finding "a good faith dispute that any wages are due will preclude imposition of waiting time penalties under Section 203.")Thus, if you had denied payment of additional wages due to a legitimate suspicion of timecard fraud, no penalties would attach. However, if you simply denied payment because you didn't think their work warranted it (understandable on a personal level, but simply not in compliance with the law), the waiting time penalty would unfortunately apply.Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes to you and thank you so much for coming to Just Answer.
Hi again - actually the employee never directly quit to me (owner), store manager or anyone else. It was not in writing. Her boyfriend wrote an email advising it the morning after her last day. When I received an email from her a week later she denied even knowing about her boyfriend's email. She stated she was replying to an email I had sent her directly. She did not directly contact anyone; we received notice a week or so later advising she had file a claim for unemployment because she had been fired.
Am I grasping at straws?!
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).