California laws have strong protections in place to ensure that terminated employees receive all that is due to them when they leave. These protections apply to employees regardless of the reason they left, whether fired, retired, resigned, or laid off.
What Is Due?
The general provision of law is that all final wages are due when an employee is terminated. Final wages include all wages due, not just earned and unpaid wages, but also accrued vacation and other amounts the employee is owed.
When Is It Due?
Payment must be made immediately upon termination at the place of termination. If an employer willfully fails to pay at the required time and place, an employee can recover a “waiting time” penalty, which is designed to penalize the employer for paying too little or too late.
The waiting time penalty is defined by law to be the employee’s daily rate of pay for each day the employer is late. There is a maximum penalty of 30 calendar days. An employee has three years to file a claim to recover these penalties.
Are There Any Exceptions?
First, an employee is ineligible to receive waiting time penalties if he or she games the employer by refusing payment or by avoiding the employer.
Second, it is absolutely clear that neither the employer’s ability to pay nor the employer’s ignorance of the law is defenses to waiting time penalty claims.
There are only two circumstances that allow an employer to fail to meet the requirements of the law. The first is if part or all of an employee’s final wages cannot reasonably be calculated upon termination. The most common circumstances in which this exception arises involve bonuses and commissions. If this exception applies, any current bonuses or commissions must be paid immediately as soon as they can reasonably be calculated.
The other exception to full and timely payment involves “good faith” disputes regarding all or part of the amount due. If there is a good faith dispute, the employer must still pay the entire amount that is not in dispute according to the provisions of the law. If the employer fails to do this, it loses the right to claim a good faith dispute as to all of the employee’s final wages. Contact Labor Law Office, APC today to speak with a professional wage and hour attorney in California.
Sacramento, CA 95821