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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
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Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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I have a change of pay rate change question. When you are

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I have a change of pay rate change question. When you are an employee of a company is it allowed for a boss to constantly change the hourly rate of what he or she is willing to pay you? Example: A job or task wasn't completed due to being taken off and sent somewhere else. Now my boss is saying since it wasn't completed he's not going to pay me my regular rate but what he feels is fair. It fluctuates according to him 5, 10 or 15 dollars an hour less than the rate of what I've earned for over a year. Because of this I gave him my 2 weeks notice and he said he was going to pay me half of what I usually make for the remaining time period. So I quit because this just doesn't seem right to me. Now he is withholding my paycheck until he subtracts what ever hours he says he needs to go and correct certain things from my work as well as paying a lower rate of my hourly wage of what he feels I deserve. I really need some clarification on this situation and greatly appreciate any help that is offered. Thank you so much for your time and have a nice day.
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:

To locate an attorney who can represent you on this matter, see here:

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.
Patrick, Esq. and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I can't tell you how appreciative I am for your promt and well explained answer. It really helps my situation to know this officially and lowers my stress level! Thank you again Patrick for your assistance. Is it possible to deal with you again directly with any other legal inquiries regarding my situation?

Thank you so much for your kind words. Knowing that I'm helping people really makes it worth my while to answer questions here. you can absolutely request me in the future simply by addressing your question "To Patrick." I will be alerted of your question and it will be reserved for me to answer that way.

I just wanted to say thank you so much for your positive rating of my service. It was truly my pleasure to be able to assist you.

In the mean time, if you have any further questions or concerns regarding the above, please do not hesitate to let me know.

Also, in the next day or so, you may receive a survey from Just Answer asking about your experience with me. I would be tremendously grateful if you'd take a moment to provide high marks, as your opinions are extremely valuable to the site and of course to me as well.

Very best wishes to you.

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