Wage claims, sometimes called unpaid wage claims, can be filed to request that an employer or former employer properly compensate the employee or former employee. If you think you are owed wages or another type of compensation, you have the right to consult an employment law attorney serving San Jose, CA. He or she can file a claim on your behalf if you’re owed overtime, commissions, or bonuses. A labor attorney can also file a claim if you were issued a check, but there were insufficient funds. Wage claims are appropriate for obtaining compensation for unused vacation hours, non-reimbursed employment expenses, and unpaid sick leave.
You may have left a job or been let go. Your employer is required to send you your final paycheck, but this doesn’t always happen in a timely manner. Before filing a wage claim under these circumstances, your employment lawyer may recommend checking with the Labor Commissioner or the state’s Unclaimed Wages Fund. It’s possible that your former employer couldn’t locate you, and he or she turned over the funds to the state.
You worked hard for your paycheck, and you have the right to expect you’ll receive every penny. But sometimes, whether it’s intentional or not, employers don’t always follow the rules. A labor attorney in San Jose, CA can file a wage claim on your behalf if your employer or former employer failed to pay you the wages or other compensation to which you’re entitled. Know that you have the right to seek employment law advice—and to file a wage claim—regardless of your immigration status. You will not need a Social Security number or a photo ID.
Filing a Wage Claim
Your labor rights lawyer will file the Initial Report or Claim form with the local office of the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE). This triggers the Labor Commissioner to initiate an investigation. Depending on your specific situation, this claim may be accompanied by other forms, such as Form 155 if you were denied commission pay. You must also submit copies of documents that support your claims, such as paystubs or dishonored paychecks. Within 30 days, a Deputy Labor Commissioner will determine whether to dismiss the claim or to schedule a conference or hearing.
Receiving Notice of a Conference
In some cases, wage claims are resolved before the case goes to a conference. If you do need to attend a conference, you can expect it to be conducted in a less formal manner than a hearing. The purpose of the conference is to determine whether a hearing is needed. You don’t need to prove your case at the conference, but you should bring your employment lawyer. The deputy will ask some questions about the claim, such as whether any witnesses may be available.
Receiving Notice of a Hearing
A hearing might be scheduled after a conference. During a hearing, the parties are placed under oath, and there will be an official transcript of the proceedings. This hearing is similar to an informal trial, in that both sides have the opportunity to testify, present evidence, and question witnesses. The claim will be decided within 15 days of the hearing.
Customer-facing jobs are often partially compensated by tips and gratuities. Waiters, bartenders, gaming dealers, and tattoo artists are common examples of workers who earn part of their pay in tips. Employee rights lawyers near San Jose, CA often counsel clients who are unsure of their legal rights regarding tips and gratuities. If you suspect your employer has been unfairly deducting or withholding your tips, head for a law office right away to get the employment law advice you need.
Is a service charge considered to be a tip?
Some establishments include a mandatory service charge on the customer’s bill. Since these service charges aren’t voluntarily paid by the customer to the employee, the state of California doesn’t consider them to be tips or gratuities. If the employer decides to distribute a service charge to an employee, it would be considered a bonus.
Is it legal to force me to share my tips with other staff?
It’s customary for waiters to be required to share their tips with busboys and bartenders, but it’s still a common source of controversy. Even if the customer gives you the tip directly, you can be required to add the tip to a group pool, which will then be distributed equally among the employees. California employment law allows this if tip pooling does not benefit the owner, manager, or supervisor.
Will my tips be figured into my regular rate of pay?
Your regular rate of pay plays a role in determining your overtime pay. However, since tips are left voluntarily by your customers, they are not added to your regular rate of pay. The exception is if your employer distributes a mandatory service charge to you. Since this is a bonus and not a tip, it is part of your regular rate of pay for the purpose of calculating overtime wages.
Is my employer allowed to deduct tips from my wages?
No. Your employer is not allowed to confiscate part or all your tips, nor can your employer deduct your tips from the wages you’re owed. Similarly, employers are not allowed to pay you less than the minimum wage because you receive tips.
It’s not common for an employer to enjoy firing someone. But if it’s not done correctly, a termination can lead to a far greater headache for the company. Unlawful termination claims filed in San Jose, CA often follow critical mistakes made by the employer. You can hear about some of the most common mistakes by watching this video. Then, consult an employment lawyer to find out how you can avoid legal liability .
This video features many brief skits that illustrate how not to fire someone. For instance, claims of unlawful termination can follow a publicly humiliating firing. It’s also risky to terminate an employee who has just participated in a protected act, such as taking maternity leave or whistleblowing. Taking the time to consult a labor attorney can give you peace of mind knowing that you’ve avoided these costly errors.