California Employment Law

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California Employment Law

I just got hired at a local restaurant. On my first day I asked

Customer Question
for a clock in number...
I just got hired at a local restaurant. On my first day I asked for a clock in number and he said he wanted to see how I did before he gave me one. The next day when I asked him he said he wanted to see how I worked on a busy night before he gave me the number. In the meantime I was taking my own tables and I wasn't receiving any of the tips for them. The next night was busy and I had a whole section to myself. At the end of the night I asked him if I we could talk and he got angry and said we could talk the next day. The next day he called me and said to not come in. He said we could talk on Monday when the restaurant was closed. He never called me on Monday and when I tried calling him he never answered or called me back. Today (Tuesday) he called me back and I told him that he should give me the money for the hours I worked which was around 14, and that I should get my tips that he owed me. He said that he didn't really owe me anything. He also said that he was going to pay me under the table and I told him I had never agreed to that and that he never told me what was happening with pay or anything. I never filled out any paperwork. I told him he at least owed me 100 dollars for the hours and 300 in tips. He hung up on me then. What can I do?
Submitted: 6 years ago.Category: California Employment Law
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Answered in 4 minutes by:
11/2/2011
California Employment Lawyer: Chris T., JD, Attorney replied 6 years ago
Chris T., JD
Chris T., JD, Attorney
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 4,829
Experience: Experienced in both state and federal court.
Verified

TexLawyer :

California law gives you the right to force him to pay you and can impose penalties and/or interest if he fails to do so in a timely manner.

TexLawyer :

In order to encourage employers to comply with California final pay law for all unpaid wages due upon termination, discharge, or voluntary resignation, California labor laws enforce financial penalties to employers called Waiting Time Penalties. California Labor Code 203 provides “(i) if an employer willfully fails to pay, without abatement or reduction, in accordance with sections 201, 201.5, 202 and 205.5, any wages of an employee who is discharged or who quits, the wages of the employee shall continue as a penalty from the due date thereof at the same rate until paid or until an action therefore is commenced.”

TexLawyer :

If you leave your employment involuntarily such as in the case of a termination or lay off, then your employer must pay you all unpaid wages immediately. This includes any compensation due for vacation time and other “time off” benefits like personal time off (PTO). If you resign voluntarily, then California labor law requires that your employer pay you all final wages within 72 hours.

Customer:

But if i never filled out any paperwork, how can I prove that I worked there? He could just say that I never worked there.

TexLawyer :

Other employees saw you working there. They could provide that evidence, if necessary.

TexLawyer :

The odds are that if sued, he would not deny that in a deposition or in court.

Customer:

I think they all might be illegals. If that is the case, then they won't want to help me.

Customer:

Plus they might be worried that they would lose their jobs if they helped me

TexLawyer :

Your testimony would be evidence. Like I said, it would be unlikely that he would deny it in a sworn deposition. If he did so, he could face severe penalties.

Customer:

So pretty much I would have to take him to court over a few hundred dollars?

TexLawyer :

He also may be willing to settle quickly once he finds out that if he loses a lawsuit, he would be liable for penalties and interest many times what he currently owes you.

TexLawyer :

If he is unwilling to reach some kind of settlement, that is the only way to enforce your legal rights.

Customer:

so what should I say to him the next time I talk to him?

TexLawyer :

You could also report him to the California Department of Industrial Relations:

TexLawyer :

You should tell him to pay you what he owes you (you are in a better position to determine that than me), or you will report him to the California Dept. of Indust. Relations and follow that with a lawsuit where you will ask for penalties, interest, and attorney's fees.

TexLawyer :

My guess is that he will pay you the few hundred dollars rather than face a lawsuit and regulatory investigation.

Customer:

Earlier when I told him that if he didn't give me the money he owed me that I would report him to the labor board and he said "call them then". Doesn't sound like the type to just hand over a few hundred dollars.

Customer:

Also, could I call the local Newspaper with this, or would I get in trouble for that? Could he sue me for that?

TexLawyer :

He's calling your bluff. Write him a letter citing the laws I referred to earlier. If he still says he won't pay, you will have to sue him. An attorney would be willing to take your case because the court could make him pay your attorney's fees.

TexLawyer :

You could not get in trouble, so long as everything you tell them is true.

Customer:

How can I prove that though. Like I said earlier the only witnesses are people that are most likely illegal.

TexLawyer :

Your testimony. If it really went all the way through a lawsuit, he would be asked about your employment under oath and in the discovery process. Like I said, it is unlikely he would deny it under those circumstances. If he did, you will have to find other witnesses. If you have any friends or family that were aware you were working there, they could be called to testify.

Customer:

Okay, one more thing? I am just getting charged the 28 dollars for this right? No more than that?

TexLawyer :

That is correct. Once you ACCEPT the answer, you will be charged $28.

TexLawyer :

Can I do anything else for you?

Customer:

Thank you for your help.

TexLawyer :

Glad to help. Goo luck.

TexLawyer :

Good.

Chris T., JD
Chris T., JD, Attorney
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 4,829
Experience: Experienced in both state and federal court.
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Category: California Employment Law
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