The Wage and Hour Division of the United States Department of Labor can help an employee file a claim for federal wage violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). On the state level the Department of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) at the Industrial Welfare Commission can assist employees in filing claims for certain, but not all, California Labor Codes. Private attorneys are faster and significantly more effective in recovering substantially greater wages than the Wage & Hour Division or DLSE will ever.
The only time the Wage and Hour Division of the United States Department of Labor should be used is if an employee wants to recovery Federal Prevailing Wages. Prevailing wages can be recovered through a private attorney, in a private lawsuit, if the wages are due from the state of California, or a city, school district, or county in California, and other non-federal public works projects. However, prevailing wages from a Federal Prevailing Wage job can only be recovered by the Wage and Hour Division of the US Department of Labor.
The California and United States Labor Board rarely ever files cases in order to collect unpaid wages. If the employer fails to voluntarily reach a low-ball settlement the result of going through these government agencies to collect wages is delay and potential missed statutes of limitations. These government agencies will not pursue all available remedies, including many penalties private wage lawyers go after. Any finding by the DLSE is immediately appealable to a California Superior Court. Not only has the DLSE finding been for naught, but there is no right to a jury trial on an appeal from the DLSE.
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The wage attorneys at the Employment Lawyers Group pride themselves at almost immediately filing all wage and hour actions for their clients. Immediate filings are required for wage and hour actions. Two important remedies available for wage and hour violations must be brought within a year. Others must be brought in three years in order to obtain all of the benefits under important California Labor Codes. It is important to promptly bring all wage and hour lawsuits because employees who are presently employed may lose a day of penalties and wages for each day the lawsuit is not filed if they are still employed, but the practice stopped. Employees who are no longer employed are also in jeopardy of losing out on relief available under the Labor Code due to all of the various statutes of limitations surrounding a wage and hour lawsuit. A wage attorney will file a lawsuit pleading for remedies under all available California Labor Codes. Wage lawsuits are not only about unpaid wages, but they are also about multiple penalties available under the California Labor Code. Wage lawyers will also make accurate computations of interest owed on unpaid wages. In order to extend all applicable statutes of limitations the lawsuit will include violations of the California Business and Professions Code which will allow relief going four years back from the date of filing. Finally, proper consultation between the wage lawyer and which wage and hour theories to pursue will be made.
Many wage and hour lawsuits involve payroll practices that are illegal. Paystubs that fail to enumerate the correct hourly wages lead to fines. The correct number of hours worked at each rate of pay must also be on a paystub. Employees who are misclassified as independent contractors and do not even receive a paystub are victims of paystub violations because none of the information is present which must be under California Labor Code Section 226. During the payroll process employers may make errors or intentionally not pay for all hours worked. They may pay the employee at the wrong hourly rate, or fail to pay the employee for all overtime worked. Class actions exist if the payroll processing software systematically fails to compute the correct hourly rate for piece rate or commissioned employees. Employer practices of never paying employees for missed meal breaks, and properly reflecting that payment on paystubs, is another form of a payroll error that has implications on a classwide basis. There are also laws about rent credits. A paystub that fails to itemize the rent credit worklawyerca.com/fpiemployeerentcredit/, or attempts to take too much for a rent credit is a paystub error for which there is a fine obtainable by the employee.
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