Everyone looks forward to getting paid for all your hard work on pay day, but what do you do when your work doesn’t pay you when they are supposed to and misses payroll? It can happen once, or habitually, where your employer is constantly late in paying you.. What are your rights? What can you do?CallforFreeConsult



Assessing the Reason for Nonpayment

Under U.S. and California laws, you are entitled to a paycheck on time for your work.  If you are not being paid on time, your employer could be violating California’s labor laws. To determine how to best move forward, it is important for you to try to determine why the employer has not made the paycheck payment, and whether they have not paid you, or not paid the entire office.  For example, the reasons can range from the business being short on money and cash flow problems, to not having enough time to do payroll, or a reason unique to a particular employee, for example, feeling as though the employee did not perform satisfactorily, or other reasons, such as “taking money out of an employee’s paycheck” for theft, damaged merchandise, or something similar.

The reason for the nonpayment is important because you need to know whether it is something you did, or whether the employer is simply in a bad financial position.  If you are not being paid for a reason relating to you or your job performance, your rights are going to be different than if the employer simply does not have enough money to pay its employees on time.

Nonpayment Due to Job Performance – “Was it Something I Did?”

In California, employers are not permitted to deduct money from your paycheck based on something you did or did not do, for example, if the cash register is short, if equipment is broken, or if you made a mistake or if there was an accident, or if the employer simply did not like the quality of the work that you did.  California employers are allowed to make certain deductions namely, state taxes, federal taxes, Medicare, social security, and any garnishments.

Employer Does Not Pay you for All Hours Worked

It is similarly illegal for employers to pay you for a fraction of the hours you actually worked.  They cannot simply decide that your work was not “good enough” and pay you a portion of what you were entitled to.  This is illegal and it is considered wage theft.  If you have not been paid for all hours you worked, it is important that you consult with legal counsel right away. There is a limited amount of time to bring a claim for wage theft and if too much time passes, your claims will expire.

Employer Does not Reimburse you for Travel Time or Other Expenses

As a California employee, you are also entitled to be reimbursed for your business and other expenses incurred during the course of your duties. This includes expenses made such as for travel, office supplies, meals while traveling, etc., for work.  An employer is also required to compensate you for your travel time, if you are an hourly, non-exempt employee. Travel time spent going to and from a job location (traveling/commuting to your home does not count) is considered compensable time to which you are entitled to receive payment.

Employer Won’t Pay You on Time and is Refusing to Pay

Is your employer actually making a decision to refuse to pay you? If so, it is possible that you are the victim of unlawful retaliation, or what is called “constructive discharge,” meaning, the employer is creating conditions to try to force you to quit. Retaliation and constructive discharge are unlawful in California, and if you feel as though your employer is doing everything possible to make life at work as miserable or stressful as possible, so that you will quit on your own, you could be the victim of unlawful employment practices. In this situation, it is important that you speak with an attorney to go over the facts of the case and determine whether a claim should be brought.


Employer Habitually Pays You Late

If your employer has a habit of paying you late, this may be due to cash flow issues. Small businesses, when they pay employees, have to pay taxes to the IRS on payroll at the same time. If the business does not have enough money to pay you and its taxes, it could delay your paycheck and paying you so that it does not go into overdraft on its business bank accounts. This is the most common reason why employees who work for small business are not paid on time.  If your employer is not paying you because business is up and down, you will have to decide whether you want to weather the difficult time and stay with the employer or whether your personal finances and situation require you to get a more reliable job. It is obviously illegal to pay employees late, but if the small business is not paying you because it simply does not have the money, and is not actually trying to hurt you or force you to quit, you might consider simply finding a different job that is more stable and reliable.

If The Employer’s Paycheck Bounces

If an Employer’s paycheck to you bounces, it counts as not paying you properly, which is illegal in California.

What are your Rights to be Paid on Time in California?

In California, employees have a right to be paid on time. California law requires employers to establish a regular payday and pay employees consistently.

What are your Options?

If you are not being paid on time, or at all, for any of the reasons above, you have several options:

1) File a Claim with the Labor Commission

The California Labor Commission investigates and prosecutes workplaces that fail to pay employees on time.  The process involves submitting a claim and permitting the government to investigate and prosecute your claim on your behalf. To submit a claim with the labor commission, visit http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/Policies.htm for more information. Obviously, government is always backlogged, and they can be slow to respond.

2) Hire an AttorneyNeedtoChat

The alternative to filing a claim is to hire an attorney. You will need to hire what is called a “wage and hour” or “labor law” attorney. Your attorney will be able to review the facts of your case and determine the base amount of your damages for unpaid wages. Here are the various types of claims your attorney can pursue for you:

  • Unpaid wages, including overtime, commissions and bonuses.
  • Wages paid by check issued with insufficient funds.
  • Final paycheck not received.
  • Unused vacation hours that were not paid upon termination of the employment relationship, e.g., a quit, discharge, or layoff.
  • Unauthorized deductions from paychecks.
  • Unpaid/non-reimbursed business expenses.
  • Reporting time pay/split shift premiums.
  • Failure to provide a meal and/or rest period in accordance with the applicable Industrial Welfare Commission Order.
  • Liquidated damages for failure to receive minimum wage for each hour worked.
  • Waiting time penalties for failure to receive final wages timely upon separation of employment.
  • Penalties for paycheck(s) that have bounced or are not negotiable within 30 days of receipt. Penalties for employer’s failure to allow inspection or copying of payroll records within 21 days of request.
  • Sick Leave Pay for time accrued and used for which you were not paid (effective July 1, 2015).

3) Find Different Work

If you are not interested in bringing legal claims to protect your rights, another option is to simply find different work.


Getting Legal Help

readreviewsAXIS Legal Counsel is a labor and employment law firm representing clients in numerous kinds of lawsuits and disputes involving
some of the nation’s largest employers. Whether it is sexual harassment, other kinds of harassment, discrimination, race discrimination, pregnancy discrimination,medical/disability discrimination, racial harassment, retaliation, hostile work environment, wage/hour, workplace bullying, or other claims, AXIS Legal Counsel is experienced in the field of employment and labor law and focused on providing high-quality legal service.

For information on retaining AXIS Legal Counsel to represent you or a loved one with an employee rights’ claim, contact info@axislegalca.com or call (213) 403-0130 for a confidential consultation, or visit our Employee Rights Practice or Individual Rights portal. AXIS is a Los Angeles, California law firm that provides victims of labor and employment law violations with aggressive representation to pursue the maximum extent of their rights.


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