How Much Can I Sue My Employer For Not Paying Me In California?
By Corey Hanrahan
How much can I sue my employer for not paying me in California? That really depends on what sort of violations you are dealing with. California law provides many wage protections for employees, and also provides penalties for certain violations. But the amount of money you are entitled to depends on whether you have suffered unpaid minimum wage, unpaid overtime wages, underpaid as a salaried employee, or any other violation.
“…Waiting time penalties are calculated at your daily rate, and you are owed one day of pay for every day that your final wages are late, up to 30 days. So if you were making $120 per day at work (which would equate to being paid $15 per hour for an 8 hour shift), and you were terminated with wages owed…“
Some wage violations entitle you to statutory penalties. For example, if you are working and are being forced to work off the clock, your employer is failing to pay you minimum wage. If that’s the case, you would be entitled to be paid at your rate for all of the hours you worked off the clock, but you would also be entitled to liquidated damages equal to the amount of unpaid wages you are owed. That penalty can add up pretty quickly.
There is another penalty that can really increase what you are owed if your employer is not paying you correctly, and they are called “waiting time penalties.” Waiting time penalties trigger at the time your employment ends. The California Labor Code requires you to be paid all wages owed at the time of your termination, or within 72 hours of your resignation (unless you provide more than 72 hours’ notice of resignation). If you are not paid all wages owed within those time parameters, you start to accrue waiting time penalties. Waiting time penalties are calculated at your daily rate, and you are owed one day of pay for every day that your final wages are late, up to 30 days. So if you were making $120 per day at work (which would equate to being paid $15 per hour for an 8 hour shift), and you were terminated with wages owed (regular wages, vacation pay, commissions, bonuses, etc.), and the employer failed to pay you for 30 or more days, your waiting time pay entitlement would be $3,600. It is worth noting too, the waiting time penalties are calculated by calendar days, not business days.
Attorney Corey Hanrahan has helped hundreds of employees seek wages they were owed, and all applicable penalties associated with the employer’s actions. If you are owed wages from your employer or former employer, contact The Hanrahan Firm for a free consultation to see what we can do for you.