There are laws against not paying employees – and if you’re a worker who hasn’t received a paycheck, you know that your employer is supposed to make sure you’re paid.
So what can you do if your employer hasn’t paid you? Here’s what you need to know.
Laws Against Not Paying Employees
The laws against not paying employees are enshrined in California employment law and in federal law, which means employers are required to pay you fair wages. If they don’t, you have legal recourse.
Related: California wage and hour disputes: Unpaid wages
What to Do if Your Employer Owes You Money
The first thing you need to do when you realize your employer owes you money is bring it to your supervisor’s attention. Sometimes it’s just an oversight – computers (and the people who enter information into them) can make mistakes and things can slip through the cracks. By letting your employer know that you’ve noticed a missed paycheck (or even a short paycheck), you’re doing the right thing – and most employers will do what it takes to make it right as quickly as possible.
However, not all employers are good employers. Some employers fail to pay their employees what they’re owed.
Related: What is FLSA?
If your employer owes you money and fails to make it right, you may want to talk to a Glendale employment attorney who understands the law and how it applies in your situation. You may have an unpaid wages claim, which means you may be able to recover the money your employer owes you – even if you no longer work for that employer.
Who’s in Charge of the Laws Against Not Paying Employees?
The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, which is also called the Labor Commissioner’s Office, is the government entity that’s in charge of claims for unpaid wages. (That’s the same division that’s in charge of enforcing minimum labor standards.)
Do the Laws Against Not Paying Employees Consider Unpaid Wages to Be “Wage Theft”?
Failing to pay an employee the money he or she earned is a form of wage theft. Companies actually can get into a lot of trouble for failing to pay you what they owe you.
What Do the Laws Say About How Much Time You Have to File a Claim?
If you’re filing an unpaid wages claim, you must file it within 3 years in most cases. There’s an exception, though. If you are filing a claim that’s related to a verbal promise that your employer would pay you more than minimum wage, you only have 2 years to file the claim. If you have a written contract, you have 4 years to file the claim.
What Happens if You File a Claim?
When you file a claim against your employer for the wages it owes you, you may be asked to participate in something called a settlement conference. You and your employer may be able to reach an agreement there. However, if you can’t reach an agreement (such as when the employer won’t offer you a fair amount of money), your attorney will give you guidance about what to do next.
Should You Talk to a Lawyer About the Laws Against Not Paying Employees?
If you know your employer owes you money and isn’t paying you, you may want to talk to an attorney. Gather documents like pay stubs, time sheets and notes you’ve taken about your work hours and call us at 818-617-9713 or 800-774-4163 right now.