Employment Law Questions? Ask an Employment Lawyer.
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Can you tell me a little bit more about what is happening? Are they deducting money from a paycheck? Are they reducing the amount the coaches believe they are to be paid? Are the coaches working all season without getting pay, and then only paid at the end of the season?
The coaches are paid at the end of the season and discovering a reduction without prior notice of the deduction and not given an explanation until they inquire. They are told they did not complete some certification (CPR or First Aid training, or concussion training, or TB test, etc.) in a timely manner. They are never told directly or have any written communication that the check could be pro-rated. The athletic directors from the school were told it could happen, but the athletic directors are also told they do not hire the coaches, the district hires the coaches.. athletic directors only recommend.
An employer can lawfully withhold amounts from an employee’s wages only: (1) when required or empowered to do so by state or federal law, or (2) when a deduction is expressly authorized in writing by the employee to cover insurance premiums, benefit plan contributions or other deductions not amounting to a rebate on the employee’s wages, or (3) when a deduction to cover health, welfare, or pension contributions is expressly authorized by a wage or collective bargaining agreement. Labor Code Sections 221 and 224.
So, if this is being itemized as a general deduction, then no, this is not legal
If, however, there is a salary tier, in which a particular amount of pay is agreed upon before hand and paid accordingly, then this would be legal.
We have 11 schools in our district and this is happening at all high schools with varying situations. How do we proceed to get the coaches their deserved payment? Some of the coaches are teachers in the district and union members, but many are "walk-on" coaches...what would be the next step?
You would have two options at this point. You would either 1) make an individual claim with the DLSE which you could do here:
or 2) (and this is what i would suggest) get an attorney involved to file a class action lawsuit against them for all employees.
If you decide to hire an attorney a great resource is www.Martindale.com. This is a nationwide directory that is useful in finding highly qualified legal specialists in various fields of law. The lawyers in Martindale are not selected because they paid to be included, but rather because they have been rated by other attorneys as qualified experts in their field. Consider consulting with two or three different attorneys prior to selecting the one you feel most comfortable with. In a case like this, an attorney would take your case on contingency which means that you would end up paying nothing out of pocket.
The reason that I suggest getting an attorney involved is that they would be able to show the willful disregard for the law through the multiple employees which would subject them to more damages and thus more money in your pocket.
Additionally, they cannot then state that they had you agree to the lesser amount before working when you have multiple people stating that they were to be given a larger amount and then had the remainder deducted from their pay.
Does that make sense?
Also, you mention that some are union members, have you gone to your union about this yet?
Because according to the collective bargaining agreement, there may be something in it which states that you have to go to the union first before filing any grievance with the DLSE or hiring an attorney. Failure to go through this avenue first would result in a loss of rights through the union.
So, 1) talk to the union first, then 2) hire an attorney, or if you do not want to hire an attorney file an unpaid wage claim directly with the DLSE for all unpaid amounts.
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yes...what type of lawyer do we look for?
You would want to find an employment attorney. In Martindale you would type in "Employment law" in the search box and then narrow the search down on the left side by clicking the boxes in your state, town, or county
Or to make it easier, type in "employment law california"
As you can see, there are 7,302 attorneys that specialize in this in California, so you have a lot to choose from.
If one wants to charge you a consultation fee, consider hanging up and calling the next one on the list.
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