When you agree to employment, you and your employer establish a professional relationship with rights and responsibilities for both sides. As an employee, you have a responsibility to faithfully execute your job duties to the best of your abilities, and you have the right to expect fair compensation for your efforts. When an employer refuses to pay you legally owed wages, you have every right to take legal action for unpaid labor.
A wage & hour dispute lawyer in Palm Springs can help you determine the most expedient method for securing the wages you are rightfully due. Regardless of whether you are still working for your employer, quit, or were fired, you have the right to secure every bit of the wages you earned. So can you sue if a job doesn’t pay you? Absolutely, but you’ll need legal counsel if you want to ensure the best possible result and make sure you get paid by your now-former company.
Can an Employer Legally Hold Your Paycheck?
Employers have legal obligations to pay all of their employees in a timely manner. The only time it is legal for an employer to hold an employee’s paycheck is for a strict 72-hour window immediately following the employee’s termination. The employer may hold the employee’s final paycheck for no longer than 72 hours after the employee’s final shift.
How Do I Report an FLSA Violation?
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of the United States upholds various rules and regulations for American employers and safeguards the rights of American employees, especially when it comes to receiving legally owed wages. If you have experienced an FLSA violation of any kind and have been denied a legally owed paycheck, a wage & hour dispute lawyer in Palm Springs could assist you in reporting the violation to the Department of Labor.
The United States Department of Labor and the California Department of Industrial Relations are the main government agencies responsible for managing legal affairs between employees and their employers. If you have experienced an FLSA violation, an experienced attorney can guide you through the claim filing process and help you approach the situation more confidently.
What Is an Example of an Unfair Labor Practice?
The FLSA also exists to ensure that unfair labor practices are swiftly identified and dissolved and those responsible for them face consequences. An unfair labor practice is any employer policy or workplace process that violates the terms of the FLSA. Some of the most common examples of unfair labor practices committed in the US include:
- Illegal retaliation against an employee in response to a protected action.
- Workplace discrimination.
- Refusal to process employee grievances from non-union members.
This is not an exhaustive list. There are many ways an employer can create unfair labor practices. If you are unsure about whether your employer has violated the FLSA or engaged in unfair labor practices, it’s vital to speak to a wage & hour dispute lawyer in Palm Springs as soon as possible.
How Long Does a Company Have to Pay You Your Last Check?
If you are fired, laid off, or quit your job, California state law requires your employer to pay you your final paycheck within 72 hours of completing your final shift. This is non-negotiable, and any employer who attempts to withhold legally earned pay from an employee should expect severe legal consequences.
If you are expecting your final paycheck and the 72-hour window has passed, you should try to contact your employer to confirm the status of your last check. If you cannot get in touch with them or they do not provide you with an acceptable answer, it’s best to consult a wage & hour dispute lawyer in Palm Springs as soon as possible.
How Long Does a Wage Lawsuit Take?
Your attorney can help you determine whether you have grounds for a lawsuit for unpaid wages. In the vast majority of these cases, once an employer realizes that an employee is willing to take legal action, this typically encourages a more positive response from the employer. If your attorney files a wage lawsuit on your behalf, the proceedings could last anywhere from a few months to more than a year. The time required for your case depends on the number of wages you are owed, your employer’s claimed reason for refusing to pay you, and other unique details of your employer-employee relationship.
First Steps in an Unpaid Wage Lawsuit
If you and your wage & hour dispute lawyer in Palm Springs decide to file a lawsuit for your unpaid wages or unpaid overtime, there are many steps. The first step is gathering as much documented evidence as possible to prove the full extent of your unpaid wages and proof of your employer-employee relationship. Your attorney will determine what you are owed, when your employer was required to pay it, and what you should do next.
You may need to file a claim with the US Department of Labor or the California Division of Industrial Relations in the early stages of your legal proceedings. Your attorney may also file a pre-suit demand letter on your behalf to your employer to encourage settlement negotiation. An employer will rarely be willing to shoulder the expense of litigation to withhold pay from an employee that is likely a far lower amount than the cost of their legal battle.
Arbitration in Wage Disputes
Many employers require employees to sign arbitration agreements as conditions of their employment. These agreements may stipulate strict rules for handling employee-employer disputes through an arbitration process. Unfortunately, these arbitration processes usually include an employee facing their employer’s in-house legal team. The result could be very one-sided if the employee does not have legal representation. If your employment agreement included any kind of arbitration clause, be sure to address this with your attorney.
Potential Recovery From a Successful Wage Dispute Claim
Your wage & hour dispute lawyer in Palm Springs can potentially help you recover compensation beyond the wages you are owed. When a lawsuit reveals that an employer illegally withheld an employee’s pay in violation of state and federal law, the plaintiff may also receive compensation for their legal fees and other damages their employer’s refusal to pay their wages caused. It is also likely that the employer will face fines and other legal consequences from the US Department of Labor and/or the California Division of Industrial Relations.
The sooner you contact a wage & hour dispute lawyer in Palm Springs to start working on your case, the better your chances will be of securing recovery for your unpaid wages and other losses. Work swiftly to find reliable legal counsel who can guide you through an unpaid wage dispute with confidence.