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California paid with bounced check

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  • California paid with bounced check

    Hi, this is my first post so please bear with me.

    I am helping a group(6 people) of friends who used to work part time for a construction company in San Jose, CA. They did the pluming and installation of kitchen and bathroom. Some have worked longer than others, but it ranges from 3 month to 6 month. Then the company issued checks that bounced(insufficient funds), and the owner told them that they would get their money in a couple of days, and tried to postpone it. After 2 weeks, the owner of the company had not paid them so they decided to quit. Most have photocopies of the checks, but no real contracts with the company. They quit in the beginning of May of this year, so its recent.

    The amount of the paychecks that bounced are in range between 700 and 2000.

    Please advice me on what are the next steps to obtain the money that they have earned and how much money can they get?

    They told me that they just filled out a document about labor and lost wages and turned it in to a San Jose clerk, who will try to make both parties meet with a deputy in about a month.

  • #2
    You sort of have two different issues:
    - Not being paid in a timely manner is normally an issue for CA-DLSE. A wage claim could be filed with them for unpaid wages. There can also be penalties for late payment of wages, but unless these are termination checks, the penalties would go to the state, not the employee.
    CA payday rules
    - Past that, bouncing a check, any check, is a crime in CA, and arguably the general rules are more favorable to the bouncee then the payroll specific rules. There is some argument that a small claims court decision gives a better result, not for the non-payment of wages, but rather for the penalty fees only.
    CA bad checks law

    Which leaves the elephant in the room. Employers who bounce checks maybe might not be around much longer and a judgment against an employer with no assets might not be worth much.

    Also, just to be sure, are the workers involved employees (taxes withheld from check, W-4 submitted to the company, W-2 received at year end)? If not, CA-DLSE just become problematic as a recovery mechanism, unless the workers want to argue that they should have been employees.
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
    Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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