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Joseph, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 5299
Experience:  Extensive experience representing employees and management
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Last Year I gently pointed out to my employer that they made

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Last Year I gently pointed out to my employer that they made a mistake and did not pay overtime in compliance with california state law. The next few months were uncomfortable and then I was given a "review" containing drummed up failures and told to sign it and correct my ways. I responded in writing to the drummed up review and demanded corrections to the review based on documents and emails. Management hummed around and I demanded my final paycheck and moved on to another employer in Oct 2012. Today (Nov 13)I received a check for $5K from this former employer. The check is post dated the 11-15-2013 with the payment description as "bonus". A letter dated nov 6 accompanied the check. "Dear ----, Enclosed please find a check #xxxx in the amount of $4999.72 (gross). Which, represents the hours worked covering the period ending 6-30-2013 for period of time you worked here at Loomis prior to your leaving the company. Happy Holidays!" Something is up, and I don't know what. From a legal perspective what are the implications if I cash this check? What are the implications if I don't cash the check? Since I did no work during the pay period (I was with another employer) why would this employer send me this...I know these guys and have seen them manipulate other employees and circumstances, what, if any back-game is being played? If I were to write a response what would I say? My 1 year time frame to go to the EDD expired at the end of Oct and a week or so later this shows seems more than coincidence.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Joseph replied 3 years ago.
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer,

My name isXXXXX am a licensed attorney, and my goal is to provide you with excellent service today.

Were you ever paid for your unpaid overtime?

Does this check state that you would be waving any of your rights if you sign it, or is it just worded as a holiday bonus check?

Was this sent to you at an address different from the one that your employer initially had on file?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I was never specifically paid for the overtime.

There is no statement in the check or the weirdly written letter that I wave any rights. The check has "bonus" in the description, but the letter refers to "hours worked covering the period ending 6-30-2013" when I left on or around 10-25-2012, 8 months earlier.

This was sent care of my new employer and not to the address on file.

Expert:  Joseph replied 3 years ago.
Hello Wesley,

You actually have three years from the time that you were not paid overtime to file a claim for unpaid overtime (not one year), so that probably makes the timing less suspicious.

This does seem very strange. I would say it's a mistake, but it seems like they took the time to locate you in order to deliver the check to you.

There are really no legal implications if you don't sign and deposit the check, nor do there appear to be any if you do, as you are not waving any of your rights by doing so.

I really don't know what could be going on in your employer's head, and this seems like a very odd practice of sending money to former employers, but I can't really see them playing any game with you here.

The worst that I can speculate about is that they would try to claim that they accidentally gave you this money and try to recoup it, but I have no idea why they would give you this money in the first place, or maybe claim that it was a settlement if you were to sue for unpaid overtime, but that's unlikely.

I hope the above information is helpful.

Please let me know if you have any clarifying or follow up questions as I want to ensure that you are completely satisfied with my service.

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Thanks and best of luck!

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
What key things might I ask if I were to respond to my former employer to ask for clarification regarding the check? Thanks again for your help.
Expert:  Joseph replied 3 years ago.
Hello Wesley,

You could just ask your employer what the check was for, but you don't have to do that, and it could cause them to cancel it.

You really don't have anything to worry about as far as it damaging any cause of action you have against your former employer if you were to later decide to sue for unpaid overtime. It was not marked in any way to indicate that. You could just take the letter as a delayed Christmas/holiday bonus for you for 2012, as that's what it appears to be.

Honestly, if I were in your situation, I don't think I'd ask for clarification from my employer, as I'd be worried that could result in the payment being taken away. I'd be on my way to the bank to cash the check before they changed their minds.

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