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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 12801
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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I was working for a cab company since 2003 until the it was

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I was working for a cab company since 2003 until the it was sold in summer 2012 i was never paid my overtime, what can i get?
Good evening and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question. I am very sorry to hear that you have not been paid overtime.

To answer your question, it is first necessary to understand that there are two separate ways you can pursue an overtime claim. You can either file a wage claim with the Department of Labor Standards Enforcement (the "DLSE"), or you can file a lawsuit in civil court.

The reason why I bring this to your attention is because the "limitations period" available in DLSE claims versus civil court claims is different. The DLSE can only go back three years from the date you file your claim. That means if you were to file a claim with the DLSE for unpaid overtime tomorrow, August 26th 2013, you'd only be able to collect unpaid overtime going back till August 26th, 2010.

If you file a lawsuit in civil court and you can argue that the failure to pay your overtime was "willful," you can go back an additional year. So, in civil court, you have the ability to go back all the way until August 2009.

Regretfully, regardless of what route you pursue your claim for unpaid overtime, you cannot go back beyond four years, so unfortunately not all of your unpaid overtime can be recouped.

One more point I want to bring to your attention is that if you file a lawsuit in civil court, you are entitled to attorney fees and costs if you prevail. This means the cost of hiring a lawyer to assist you with your claim in civil court should be nothing or close to nothing. DLSE claims are free to file and the DLSE will pursue the claim on your behalf, but you will have no entitlement to attorney fees if you go the DLSE route.

Under the circumstances and given that you want to go back the additional year, it would likely be wise to retain an attorney and file suit in civil court. CELA is a great resource for locating a local employment law attorney who can assist you with your claim. See here:

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.
Patrick, Esq. and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

SO I'll gain only one extra years and this also not related to the date the company ceased operation? Roughly will the cost for a civil lawyer be?

Thank you very much for your reply.

Yes, by suing in civil court rather than filing with the DLSE you will only gain one extra year. Four years is the limit to what you can typically recover on these sorts of claims.

Attorneys will assist you with your lawsuit on a contingency 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 let me know if I can provide any sort of additional clarification. I am more than happy to assist you further is necessary.