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employer threatening to withhold payment after resignation California

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  • employer threatening to withhold payment after resignation California

    deal all -
    after resigning from my former employment, the company has threatened to hold back payments due from salary, unused paid time off, and commissions...

    a usa citizen, i've been employed by them by full-time contract for almost 2.5 years and have recently been working abroad for them in england... this is a california company, where i was recruited and started working, and i believe that california state dictates employment law...

    i resigned officially on monday after deciding to start classes in england... there is no condition in my contract to remain employed by them for any period of time, just at-will employment, and i'm not liable for any relocation charges...

    i returned my company possessions on wednesday, including a laptop, mobile phone, and keys to the office, all of which were demonstrated in full working order... during my return, i also agreed to brief the director and staff on all my current open deals and sales opportunities... there are work-related emails and files on the laptop but my personal data was removed...

    just yesterday i got an abrasive letter from the director accusing me of deleting emails because they claimed they couldn't find any communication with a certain prospect... he says in his email that if i don't provide any missing emails they request, then they will take action and withhold my unpaid wages mentioned above...

    this seems to me like a scare-tactic in poor taste... there is no proof that i deliberately deleted emails and data from the laptop before returning it and, even if i did, i don't think that there are laws against this...

    people regularly delete email to manage inboxes, sometimes routine messages get lost, and sometimes certain emails aren't even delivered... that being said, i can't imagine that data deletion, whether intentional or accidental, is a legal offense...

    i've consulted the employeed handbook and property agreement and find nothing related to emails and data, only terms that state that company property must be returned and inventions such as source code remain company property...

    someone advised that i file a complaint with the california labor commissioner but that i first wait 30 days so that the employer faces a penalty for late payment...

    can you please share some insight and advice?

    are they just trying to bully me since they know i'm abroad and think i'm not protected by the state of california?

    thanks in advance for your help...

  • #2
    If you were working in California at the time you resigned, California law would apply. If you were working in England at the time you resigned, it would not.
    I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.


    • #3
      dear patty -
      let me just add that i was under a usa contract, employed at-will, remained on the usa payroll, and paid state taxes in california...


      • #4
        Sorry but it matters not where your check is generated, but where you actually are performing the work. If you are actually working in the UK, it doesn't matter that you previously worked in CA nor that you have tax obligations there. UK law controls.
        I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.


        • #5
          Originally posted by pandnh4 View Post
          dear patty -
          let me just add that i was under a usa contract, employed at-will, remained on the usa payroll, and paid state taxes in california...
          I am pretty sure that the other answers are correct, but if you want another opinion, just give CA-DLSE a call (or send them an email). At the end of the day, their's is the only opinion that actually matters.

          Also, if I can pick a "nit" here, you maybe have two different issues. Labor law (the law related to employees) is not the same as contract law.

          For labor law purposes, I do not see CA as seeing this as their issue. If we have an employee working 99% of the time in CA and making brief trips elsewhere, then CA labor law generally applies to the "elsewhere" trips. But you are talking about working 100% somewhere else then CA, and I am pretty sure that takes CA labor law off the table.

          For contract law purposes however, maybe CA contract law applies, but that would require having a CA lawyer actually reading your contract(s) to be sure.
          "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
          Philip K. **** (1928-1982)


          • #6
            Another casualty of a California employer?

            "Wage and Hour Class Action Attorneys"

            Disclaimer: The above correspondence does not constitute legal advice nor establish an attorney-client relationship. You should seek the advice of independent legal counsel before relying upon, acting upon or not acting upon any information contained in this correspondence.