Can I Sue My Employer for Paying Me Late in California?
The short answer is yes. In fact, California employers face a civil penalty for failure to pay their employees on time. Under California labor law, all employees have a right to receive their earned wages on time. This also applies to receiving the final payment upon quitting or being fired.
If your employer paid you late, do not hesitate to contact a Los Angeles employment lawyer to review your particular situation. You may have grounds to sue your employer by filing a wage and hour lawsuit.
What is the penalty for failure to pay employees on time in California?
Under California Labor Code § 210, employers are subject to a $100 penalty if they pay their employees’ regular pay late. An employer will face a $100 penalty for each failure to pay each employee on time. The penalty applies to “any initial violation,” according to California’s law.
For any subsequent violation, the employer is subject to a $200 penalty, plus 25 percent of the amount unlawfully withheld. The heightened penalty also applies to late paid wage claims that involve any willful or intentional violation.
If your employer does not provide overtime pay on time, they can face civil penalties. Your employer will incur the penalty when they pay you overtime after the date of when your wages are normally due.
What if the employer fails to pay a final paycheck on time?
Under California law, a final paycheck upon a worker’s termination of employment must be paid:
- On the day of the employee’s last day of work when they were laid off or fired; or
- Within 72 hours of the employer issuing notice of termination of the employment relationship
What are my options if my employer paid me late?
If your employer did not pay you on time, you have several options:
- You can file a complaint with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, also known as the DLSE
- You can file a claim with a federal agency
- You can pursue a wage and hour lawsuit against your employer
Your employer may be liable to pay interest in addition to the owed wages. The court also has the discretion to impose penalties. Note: Employers are not always subject to a civil penalty for failure to pay their employees on time. Under certain circumstances, there may be a good cause for the late payment. For example, the employer’s bank is having technical issues, which results in the delay.
What if the late payment of wages was willful or intentional?
If your employer willfully or intentionally paid you late, the civil penalty is $200 for the initial violation. Also, the employer may be ordered to pay 25 percent of the unlawfully withheld amount.
Under California law, your employer has a legal obligation to pay your “regular” wages on the regular payday even if there is an ongoing lawsuit or dispute regarding the amount of wages.
What constitutes “regular” wages depends on the employment relationship between employee and employer, as well as the pay structure (salary vs. hourly pay).
If your employer did not pay you on time, consult with our Los Angeles wage and hour claims lawyer at Obagi Law Group, P.C. to determine whether you have grounds to sue your employer. Call 424-284-2401 to receive a consultation.