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Long Beach Wage Claims Attorney

Are You Owed for Wage Theft? Our Attorney Can Help.

Our economy is predicated on the idea that you’ll be fairly paid for your work—but some companies try to find their way around employment contracts in hopes of saving money. This is known as wage theft, and it’s illegal nationwide. Thankfully, enforcement mechanisms at the state and national level can help you challenge your employer in court so you can get the wages you deserve.

What Is Wage Theft?

It may seem obvious that wage theft occurs when your employer takes or keeps money that should belong to you. But it doesn’t just involve nonpayment or invalid checks. Wage theft may include:

  • Hourly rates that do not meet or exceed minimum wage standards
  • Failure to pay wages as agreed (overtime, commissions, tips, piece rate)
  • Denying use of paid sick leave
  • Failure to pay vacations, bonuses, or other benefits
  • Failure to pay split shift premiums or reporting time pay
  • Asking employees to work off-the-clock
  • Late payment of final wages
  • Unauthorized paycheck deductions
  • Meal and rest break violations
  • Failure to reimburse business expenses
  • Paychecks returned due to nonsufficient funds
  • Withholding personnel files and payroll records

If you were denied the wages or benefits guaranteed in your work contract, it’s time to reach out to an experienced lawyer for help. Employers who refuse to pay up can be brought in front of the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE), California state court, or a federal court.

Talk to a Long Beach attorney by reaching out online or calling (888) 495-0556.

What to Know Before You File

California’s wage laws don’t cover everyone. Exempt employees and independent contractors cannot bring wage claims against employers. For this reason, many employers misclassify workers—which is illegal. However, it can be another difficult hurdle to clear in pursuit of the payment you deserve.

If you plan to complain about wage theft, keep a close eye on deadlines, as you have at most three years to file with the DLSE. Don’t wait until the last minute to retain representation. Involving an attorney early in the process can help you ensure your claim is solid and will leave you time to file suit if you are not able to resolve the issue through the claims process.

What Does a Wage Claim Case Look Like?

Filing a wage claim with the DLSE requires workers to fill out a form detailing the alleged abuses. This will kick off an investigation and prompt the Deputy Labor Commissioner to schedule a settlement conference in which they will try to bring both parties to a resolution. If the defendant fails to show up, or no agreement can be reached, the DLSE will schedule a hearing during which you must prove your claim. A good employment attorney can help you gather the documentation you need to demonstrate that wage theft occurred.

Hearings are not decided on the spot; after evaluating your claim and the evidence you’ve presented, a letter will be sent to both you and your employer laying out the ruling. Either party can appeal, sending the case to the Superior Court.

Of course, you may also choose to file a federal complaint with the Wage & Hour Division (WHD) of the Department of Labor. As a California resident, there is not much reason to do so because our state labor laws are more worker-friendly and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) only allows employees a two-year period to file after a violation.

Employer Retaliation After a Wage Claim

Your employer is not allowed to retaliate against you for blowing the whistle on workplace violations, reporting sexual harassment, or filing a wage claim. California S.B. 306 provides the DLSE broad authority to investigate suspected retaliation, even if the worker involved has not filed a report. Employers may attempt to get back at employees by:

  • Firing them
  • Demoting them
  • Changing their schedule to include fewer or worse hours
  • Harassing them
  • Threatening them or punishing them for no reason
  • Reporting them to immigration authorities

Under the new bill, employers will be required to pay monetary damages to offset any retaliation. The new rules also make it much easier for employees to prove retaliation.

Reliable Wage Claim Advice

Wage claims can turn into a complex process, and you probably don’t want to face one alone. Our experienced employment attorney is up-to-date on California workers’ protections and knows how to navigate state agencies. If you think your employer hasn’t provided you the wages or benefits you’re entitled to, ask the Law Offices of Jonathan D. Winters if you have a case.

Reach out online or call us at (888) 495-0556 to schedule a consultation.