San Diego Unpaid Wages Attorney
Are You Owed Outstanding Earnings in San Diego County?
Getting a paycheck doesn’t always mean you got paid what you’re owed. When your wages are on the line, it’s important to be able to recognize when an employer is treating you unfairly. Sometimes it may be obvious, but other times your employer is aware of their unlawful conduct and may try to cloak their practices as company policies. When it comes to your training, vacation time, and sales commissions, deceitful employers may try to avoid paying you for your time and labor. This is why it’s important to be sure of what you’re owed for your time and labor.
The reasons they cite for withholding your earnings may make sense if you’re unaware of your employment rights. However, these practices often stand in a very gray area of the law, if not outright unlawful. Contact a San Diego unpaid wages lawyer immediately if you think your employer has been illegally withholding your earnings.
A complaint regarding employee or consumer rights in San Diego should be handled as soon as possible by a local attorney. AMartin Law holds certain qualities close to its approach to business and litigation that we believe increase our clients' chances of success. In more than 13 years of litigation experience, we have represented thousands of consumers and employees. We have recovered millions of dollars for consumers and employees through our litigation efforts.
Employees working in sales often receive commissions that are a percentage of the price of a product or service they sell. However, sales fluctuate, and it’s not always in a salesperson’s control. That’s why, when sales are down, most commission earners are entitled to minimum wage and overtime pay. They are also entitled to commissions they earn if they’re in a probationary period at a company and additionally must be paid all of their commissions when they leave a company – whether they quit or were terminated.
Employers may also shortchange commission earners by deducting business expenses from commissions. Just as for wage earners, this is illegal when you earn a commission in California.
Unlawful business expense deductions typically include:
- Cash shortages
- Loss of equipment
- Defective product returns
- Returns untraceable to original salesperson
- Returns of products sold at another store
Prohibited Vacation Practices
Although not required under California law, vacation benefits are regulated by the government when a company provides them to employees. In California, vacation is earned as work is rendered – meaning an employee can earn vacation time at a set accrual rate as long as they earn their full amount by the year’s end.
Companies that engage in “use-it-or-lose-it” vacation policies – where unused vacation time is forever lost – are unlawful. California considers earned vacation to be the same as earned wages and prohibits employers from taking away any earned vacation hours. That means if employees have unused vacation hours at the end of the year, their employer must either carry over the hours to next calendar year or pay employees for the hours.
Employers can, however, limit an employee’s vacation accrual. These caps should be intended to prevent excessive vacation accrual, but employers must allow employees reasonable time periods to use their vacation. Caps on vacation accrual also cannot be used as a way to deny employees their vacation benefits.
California Minimum Wage & Overtime Rules
The minimum wage required in California varies depending on your employer's size. Additionally, some localities or counties might have higher minimum wages than the rest of the state. Additionally, it increases almost every year at the beginning. Your employer must immediately raise your pay to match the new minimum wage if the law changes.
If your employer has paid you less than the minimum wage at the time, you can file a claim and get the money back from your employer.
Some employers may actually require you to undertake mandatory overtime in California. However, these businesses must still adhere to the rules that govern overtime pay. California also requires overtime pay for all hours worked in addition to the minimum wage:
- If you work more than 8 hours per day,
- over 40 hours per week, or
- In a single workweek, the first 8 hours of the 7th consecutive workday.
If you work overtime, you will be paid at 1.5 times your regular rate of pay.
Double overtime begins when you work more than 12 hours in one workday or 8 hours on your 7th consecutive workday in one workweek. During this time, you must be paid double the amount of your regular hourly rate.
California employment law requires employers to pay employees for any and all time required on the job. This includes requirements to attend training programs, lectures, and meetings.
Employers often try to avoid paying newly hired employees or applicants for initial job training. They may describe the training as “pre-hire training. The training may also be described as part of the “interview” process.
However, such descriptions do not get employers out of their payment responsibilities. Employers are still required to pay for the time spent at training, even if the employer ultimately does not hire the applicant. There are, however, some exceptions to this requirement.
Employers can only escape paying for training programs, lectures, or meetings if all of the following criteria are met:
- Attendance is outside regular working hours
- Attendance is voluntary
- The training course, lecture, or meeting isn’t directly related to the employees’ jobs
- Employees do not perform any productive work during the training
Additionally, employers generally do not have to pay for any type of universally applicable training or education, such as mandatory continuing educational units or CPR certification. This is because that type of training is broad – not specific to a single employer – and applicable to other jobs.