Pay Attention to the Timeline
Even if a worker has a valid unpaid wages claim, they must be cognizant of the timeline. They will have a specific window to report the earnings claim in California, and if they do not file the claim during that time, there can be negative consequences. For example, a worker can be permanently banned from the right to recover the money they are rightfully due. For questions related to the timeliness of your claim, it is beneficial to speak with a qualified employment law attorney in California.
Unpaid Wages Claims: What is Included?
Not to be overlooked, earnings paid on an hourly basis should be included in a claim made for any unpaid wages. Other employees have different requests that can also be included, such as unpaid reimbursement of business expenses, unpaid commissions and bonuses, and unpaid PTO and vacation time. All of these can be reimbursed if the worker contacts an employment attorney and is able to file a successful unpaid earnings claim.
Independent Contractors in California
In California, contractors considered “independent” are unable to claim unpaid earnings. However, these special workers may be permitted to file a lawsuit claiming breach of contract if they are not paid on time. While the process may be a little different for independent workers who are paid on unfair terms, it is a smart move to contact a skilled employment law attorney if a worker feels they possess a valid claim. Adding up the earnings that an independent contractor knows they are owed—wages that are yet unpaid—is a great first step for these employees.
Proving an Unpaid Earnings Claim
First off, contacting an attorney for a free consultation regarding a wage claim is a sensible first step. If the individual chooses to proceed, their lawyer will ask the worker to provide them with certain relevant documents and provide testimony to support your request.
When an employment attorney in California requests that an employee or former employee give them documents, they will probably ask for:
- Notices of employment information
- Paychecks and paystubs
- Paychecks that may have bounced
- Financial records
If the employee is part of a CBA or a Collective Bargaining Agreement, they will also want to provide a copy of their CBA.
If an employee who would like to make a wage claim cannot find all of these pertinent documents, a lawyer can provide guidance and even help track them down. If an attorney aids a claimant in finding the documents they need, this process is known legally as “discovery” and can be very helpful in cases like these.
Next Steps After Filing an Unpaid Wages Claim
After a claim for earnings is filed, workers must find, collect, and submit all of the relevant documentation in support of their claim. Documentation is a must in order for the claim to be recognized and validated.
After this occurs, the involved parties will hold a conference of settlement. The unpaid wage claim can quickly be dismissed if the claimant refuses to attend the planned conference. However, settlement conferences often prove successful, with an agreement that is acceptable for both parties being reached. If this is the case, there is no need for the issue to proceed to trial.
On the other hand, sometimes, one or both parties find it impossible to reach a satisfactory agreement. If this occurs, a hearing is held. This is called a wages or earnings claim hearing. Just like last time, if the claimant fails to attend the hearing, the wage claim is promptly dismissed.
Ideally, an agreement is reached during the settlement conference, but if not, the hearing is a chance for both parties to provide their side of the dispute and a verdict to be issued. It is recommended that the claimant retain a skilled employment lawyer for both the settlement conference and the wage claim hearing.
Nakase Law Firm: Excellent Wage Claim Representation.
Wage claim disputes are common in California, and employees who are owed earnings should be able to collect them. If your former or current employer has violated the law in any way and you are owed wages, contact an employment attorney who you can trust. At Nakase Law Firm, we have experience dealing with various employment issues in California, including cases regarding unpaid wages. We will protect your rights while quickly recovering the earnings you are due. Call us for a free consultation today.