The issue of unpaid wages or wage theft affects workers from various sectors, leading to financial instability, decreased quality of life, and a cycle of poverty for many. Unpaid wages can be attributed to several factors, including unscrupulous employers, inadequate labor laws enforcement, and a lack of awareness among workers about their rights.
When it comes to wage theft, the city of Glendale is no exception. This city in the San Fernando Valley is home to a variety of companies and employers ranging from Forest Lawn Memorial Park where a number of celebrities and Hollywood stars are buried to iconic restaurants like Bob's Big Boy Burgers. It is also home to stunning historic locations such as the Catalina Verdugo Adobe and stunning destinations such as the 31-acre Brand Park.
Many employees, especially those in low-wage jobs, are often unaware of their legal rights regarding wages. Employers sometimes take advantage of this lack of awareness to underpay or withhold wages from their workers. If this is you, it is critical that you contact our experienced Glendale wage and hour attorneys to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.
Do You Have an Unpaid Wage Claim?
Unpaid wages can be a daunting issue for workers, as they can lead to financial hardships and emotional distress. If you find yourself in a situation where your employer has failed to compensate you for your hard-earned work, it is important to know that there are steps you can take to claim what you are rightfully owed.
In order to determine if you have an unpaid wage claim, start by examining your employment contract or any written agreement you have with your employer. This document should outline your wage rate, hours of work, overtime policies, and any other compensation-related terms. Ensure that your employer is abiding by the terms set forth in this agreement. Familiarize yourself with California and federal labor laws, particularly those related to minimum wage, overtime, and wage payment requirements. These laws vary by jurisdiction, and being aware of them is crucial to assess whether your employer is in compliance.
What Are the Most Common Wage and Hour Violations?
Wage and hour violations are a prevalent issue in the workplace, and they can affect employees across various industries and job positions. While there are numerous ways in which wage and hour violations can occur, here are some of the most common violations our California unpaid wage attorneys come across:
Misclassification: Employee misclassification is a significant issue. Employers sometimes misclassify workers as independent contractors or exempt employees to avoid paying overtime or providing benefits. Such misclassification can lead to substantial financial losses for employees.
Unpaid wages: Sometimes, employers might make unauthorized deductions from an employee's paycheck, such as for cash register shortages or damage to company property. This is generally illegal unless the employee has given explicit written permission for the deduction.
Unpaid overtime: California labor laws require that non-exempt employees receive overtime pay at a rate of 1.5 times their regular hourly rate for all hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek. Employers sometimes misclassify employees as exempt from overtime when they should be non-exempt. This means these employees do not receive the appropriate overtime compensation.
Paid sick leave violations: In California, paid sick leave violations typically pertain to the state's mandatory paid sick leave law, which requires employers to provide eligible employees with a minimum of 24 hours or three days of paid sick leave per year. Violations may include failure to provide the required amount of sick leave, unlawful restrictions on its use, or retaliation against employees for taking sick leave.
Employers must also comply with record-keeping and notice requirements. Violations can result in penalties, back pay, and reinstatement for affected employees. It's important for both employers and employees to be aware of and adhere to California's paid sick leave laws.
Failure to provide meal and rest breaks: California laws mandate a 10-minute paid rest break for every four hours worked and an unpaid meal break of at least 30 minutes for shifts exceeding five hours. Violations can occur when employers do not grant these breaks, interrupt them, or pressure employees to work during their break time. Employers failing to provide the mandated breaks may be liable for penalties and may owe employees additional compensation.
How Much Time Do You Have to File a Claim for Unpaid Wages in Glendale?
In California, the statute of limitations or the deadline for filing a claim for unpaid wages depends on the type of wage violation. Here's a breakdown of the time limits for different scenarios:
Minimum Wage Violations: If you believe your employer has paid you less than the minimum wage required by California law, you generally have three years from the date of the violation to file a claim. However, it's important to note that in cases of willful violations, the statute of limitations extends to four years.
Overtime Violations: For unpaid overtime claims, the statute of limitations is typically three years from the date of the violation. If your employer willfully violated California law on overtime, the time limit extends to four years.
Meal and Rest Break Violations: If you have been denied meal and rest breaks as mandated by California labor laws, the statute of limitations is generally three years from the date of the violation.
Contractual Wage Claims: For unpaid wages that are stipulated in an employment contract, the statute of limitations is typically four years. This timeframe allows for claims related to salary, bonuses, commissions, and other wage components as defined in the contract.
Unpaid Final Wages: When an employer fails to pay you your final wages upon termination, the statute of limitations on unpaid wages is generally three years.
It's important to remember that the statute of limitations can vary, and it is essential to consult with an experienced unpaid wage lawyer in Glendale or the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) to ensure you are aware of the specific time frame that applies to your situation. Filing a claim for unpaid wages within the applicable time limit is crucial, as exceeding it may result in losing the right to recover the unpaid wages and associated penalties.
How Do You File for Unpaid Wages in Glendale, CA?
Filing a claim for unpaid wages in California can be done through the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE), and the process generally involves the following steps:
- Collect all relevant documents and information that support your wage claim including pay stubs, timesheets, employment contracts, and any communication with your employer related to your wages.
- Try to resolve the issue with your employer directly prior to filing a formal claim. Communicate your concerns and request payment for the unpaid wages.
- If your employer does not resolve the issue or refuses to pay the unpaid wages, you can file a wage claim with the DLSE. You can do this online through the DLSE's website or by visiting a local DLSE office in person. The online filing option is the more convenient and recommended method. You will need to provide detailed information about your employer, your employment, and the unpaid wages on the claim form. Be as precise and thorough as possible to support your case.
- Along with the claim form, you should attach copies of the documentation you gathered in step 1 as evidence of the unpaid wages.
- After you submit your claim, the DLSE will review your case and may contact you for further information or clarification. They will also notify your employer of the claim.
Free Confidential Case Evaluation
If your employer is refusing to pay you the wages you are rightfully owed, it is important that you understand your legal rights and options. The experienced Glendale unpaid wage attorneys at Kingsley & Kingsley Lawyers have a long and successful track record of standing up for and protecting workers' rights. We will help ensure that you receive fair compensation for your losses and that your employer is held accountable. Call our law offices for a free consultation and comprehensive case evaluation.