Good afternoon and thank you for entrusting me to assist you. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will do everything I can to answer your question.
Your boss is amazingly misinformed. While employers retain virtually unfettered discretion to change an employee's pay prospectively
(meaning from the date they give notice onward), an employer can NEVER
change an employee's rate of pay retroactively
, as doing so essentially amounts to an unauthorized deduction from earned wages. Not only is this illegal, it is potentially also criminal as at constitutes a willful non-payment of wages earned. (See Labor Code 216)
You are entitled to compensation at your originally agreed upon rate for all work you performed under the understanding that is the amount you'd be paid.
It is also illegal for your boss to withhold your final paycheck. According to Labor Code 201, your employer MUST pay all your final wages owed by the later of either (1) 72 hours after you give notice of your intent to quit; or (2) the last day of your employment. In other words, if you give less than 72 hours notice before quitting, your employer has 72 hours from the date you give notice to when they have to pay. Otherwise, they must pay you on your last day.
Failure to pay a departing employee's final wages in compliance with Labor Code 201 will typically result in the assessment of a penalty
in the amount of the employee's daily rate of pay for each day the wages go unpaid up to 30 days.
So for example, if an employee who makes $100 a day is terminated on on the first of the month but not paid his final wages until the 20th, he would be entitled to a $2,000 penalty from his employer in addition to the earned wages.
There are a couple ways you can proceed moving forward. You can either file a complaint with the CA Department of Labor Standards Enforcement (which is free but sometimes takes longer and is ocassionally not as effective), or you can file a lawsuit in civil court. If you file a lawsuit and retain an attorney, you are entitled to attorney fees. No matter what in civil court you are entitled to costs, assuming you prevail.
To file a wage claim with the DLSE, visit this link: http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/howtofilewageclaim.htm
To locate an attorney who can represent you on this matter, see here: http://www.cela.org/?page=4
Most attorneys handle this sort of claim on a pure contingnecy fee basis. If you don't know, a contingency fee arrangement is one in which the attorney receives a portion of the client's settlement or award as his payment, typically 1/3 of the total amount. If there is no recovery, the attorney does not get paid. The client never pays until the settlement or award is obtained (except perhaps to cover the filing costs for his claim).
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 and kindest regards.