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Wage Claim Questions California

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  • Wage Claim Questions California

    At my previous job, my last day of work was Sept. 8. I had given the manager almost 4 weeks' notice and she was well aware that I knew what the California laws were regarding final paychecks. Even before I left, she e-mailed her district manager and the district manager e-mailed HR regarding paying out the PTO hours I had accrued. This is a large corporation with many retail stores in California, so you would think they would know the laws. Well, nothing was resolved until mid-Oct when they agreed I was due PTO hours and I received my check on Oct. 18. In the meantime, I had filed a wage claim with the DLSE for unpaid vacation hours a week after I left. I have not yet heard from them about this although I understand it can be a long process. I tried numerous times this past week to call them regarding the status of my claim (wanted to update them on the situation also) but only got a busy signal or continuous ringing. Now that I have received my vacation pay, what is the next step? I am still owed the waiting time penalty - do I send in another claim just for the waiting time penalty or do I continue to try to contact them to let them know I received my vacation pay? I don't even know if my claim was even received or processed. Any advice would be much appreciated!

  • #2
    Did the company pay you waiting time? It's not a given, but it's a high likelihood the DLSE would order that as well.

    Personally, I'd just wait. Eventually, they will contact the company and they will tell them they paid your PTO. At that time, you will be notified and you can revise your claim to include the waiting time penalty (30 days' maximum at your average daily rate of pay).
    I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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    • #3
      Thanks, Patty. No, I was not paid the waiting time, just my PTO hours. I'm assuming I'm also entitled to the full 30 days' maximum. I'm also not sure how long I should wait for DLSE to respond to my claim before being concerned that they may not have received it. Two months? Six months?

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      • #4
        I've heard trying to contact the DLSE by phone is an exercise in futility. Do they have an email address where you could email your question regarding the status of your claim? I've found I usually get answers from other state's agencies more quickly if I email.
        I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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        • #5
          I can attest to that being an exercise in fultility! I've tried googling for an email address for the Santa Ana office but there is none listed anywhere. I guess I'll just try the general DSLE email address and hope for the best!

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          • #6
            Yeah, I wouldn't expect every office to have it's own email address. Try the general; hopefully it will get forwarded to your local office (make sure you mention which office) for an answer.
            I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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            • #7
              evie5: I was not paid the waiting time, just my PTO hours. I'm assuming I'm also entitled to the full 30 days' maximum waiting time penalties.

              As a general rule, you are correct. However, the exact language of Labor Code 203 provides, "If an employer willfully fails to pay, without abatement or reduction... any wages of an employee who is discharged or who quits, the wages of the employee shall continue as a penalty from the due date thereof at the same rate until paid or until an action therefor is commenced; but the wages shall not continue for more than 30 days."

              The nub in these type of cases usually turns on the issue of willfullness. If your employer can demonstrate a "good faith" reason for not paying you immediately at the time of your termination, you will not be entitled to waiting time penalties.
              Barry S. Phillips, CPA
              www.BarryPhillips.com

              IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: This response is intended to provide general information and written for educational purposes only. It does not establish a client relationship. This communication is not intended to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding tax-related penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to any party any matters addressed herein.

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              • #8
                The following blog seems to be maintained by someone who works inside the Santa Ana DLSE office. It might explain some of your experience. (Contains profanity, do not visit if you are easily offended.) : http://nolaborstandards.blogspot.com/

                I am not associated with that site in any way, but it is a unique view of the Santa Ana DLSE.
                Michael Tracy
                Attorney
                http://www.laborlawradio.com

                Disclaimer: The above response is a general statement of the law and should not be relied upon as legal advice. It only assumes the facts that are stated in the message. The above response does not serve to form an attorney-client relationship.

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