Payment of Final Wages for California Employees

In California, for employees who are terminated, all earned and unpaid wages must be paid immediately and on the day of the termination. For employees who quit, all earned and unpaid wages must be paid within 72 hours of the employee's notice to quit. For employees who are on a temporary or short-term assignment, the wages are due when the employment obligations are completed.

Generally, the employee must be paid at the place where the employee had provided the services to the employer. If the employee earns commissions, performance bonus, or other forms of deferred compensation, the employer must pay those wages as soon as they are calculated.

Consequences for Late Payment of Final Wages

Under California Labor Code § 203, an employer who fails to pay wages immediately upon termination or within 72 hours of a voluntary quit, is liable for one day's wages up to 30 days. This is known as the "waiting time" penalty. Further, the waiting time penalty accrues at the employee's average daily wage for each calendar day regardless of the number of days the employee normally worked.
The statute states that the failure to pay wages must be "willful". However, the term willful simply means that the employer intentionally failed to perform an act that he was legally required to be done. The employee must only show that the employer knew that wages were due and failed to pay them. Further, the employee can bring a claim to recover "waiting time" penalties even if the employer pays all other wages that were due.

Some employers attempt to assert various defenses to avoid waiting time penalties.  Only a few narrow defenses have been recognized, including:
  • A bona fide, good faith dispute between the employer and employee as to the amount of wages owed.  However, any undisputed wages must be paid within the time frames as noted above.
  • If the employer could not calculate the amount of wages owed at termination.  For example, commission wages which have not been determined or calculated would not be subject to waiting time penalties.
Any payments that the employee receives as waiting time penalties are not considered earned wages and the employer cannot withhold normal income taxes.  Of course, the employer can report the payments as another form of income (such as miscellaneous income on a 1099 form) and the employee would be responsible for the tax consequences of that income.

The Erlich Law Firm ( ) represents individuals and employees in all workplace disputes including wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, unpaid wages, wage and hour violations, disability accommodation and discrimination, and family leave.

Single Parent Discrimination at the Workplace

On November, 2009, the US Census Bureau released the document on Custodial Mother and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2007. According to this study, there are approximately 13.7 million single parents in the US responsible for raising about 26% of 21.8 million children under 21 years of age. The rest of the children lived outside their household. Additionally, 84% of the custodial parents are mothers and 16% are fathers.

When it comes to employment:
Of the mothers who are custodial parents:
79.5% are employed
49.8% work full time, all year round
29.7% work part-time or part of the year

Of the fathers who are custodial parents:
90% are employed
71.7% work full time, all year round
18.4% work part-time or part of the year

These statistics clearly show that most single parents are gainfully employed so that they do not have to depend on others for their family's subsistence. In fact, out of this large number of single parent households, only 27% of custodial single mothers and their children live in poverty and 12.9% of custodial single fathers and their children live in poverty. However, there are many cases of discrimination on single parents in the workplace. While several companies deny this, this type of discrimination is rampant and accepted by most people in the workforce. This is because there is no federal law prohibiting this type of discrimination. The Federal Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) has laws against discrimination.

For example, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) that protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older; Title I and Title V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended (ADA) which prohibit employment discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in the private sector, and in state and local governments; and so on. While these are clear laws against discrimination, there is no specific law against single parent discrimination. How are single parents discriminated? It usually starts as early as the job interview. Applicants are asked about their marital status. Then, the interviewer asks if the applicant has children.

In some cases, when the applicant says yes, he/she is then asked to leave. For those who are "fortunate" enough not to be asked to leave, they are asked questions like, "Will your parental duties prevent you from working at least 50 hours a week?" If applicants do pass the interview, the probability of being passed over for promotion or more responsibility in the workplace is greater compared to their single (without children) and married counterparts. It seems that a common stereotype for a single parent is someone who "wouldn't be interested or able to make a move because they have children," according to Cindia Cameron, organizing director for 9 to 5. So, what should a parent do if he/she is single and experiences discrimination in the workplace?

1. At the interview, try to relax but be straightforward When you are asked questions such as those mentioned earlier, ask the interviewer why they are asking those questions. Then tell them that you would be happy to talk about that but you would like to talk about your skills and accomplishments first.

2. Challenge the interviewer's assumptions Politely ask why the interviewer thinks that being single and a parent matters in connection to the job. Answer their concerns so as to dispel any preconceptions they have against single parents.
3. Talk to your supervisor or manager At work, if faced with a situation where you feel that you are being discriminated, talk to your superior and tell them that you want the opportunity to advance just like other members of the team.

4. Get support from other single parents in your workplace Seek out other single parents in your office. Meet with them and put together ideas on how you can address issues that you have with the company.

Maintaining a single parent household is difficult. It shouldn't be complicated further with discrimination at the workplace. Because of the difficulties that single parents are facing at the workplace, a petition has been made, addressed to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, to support single parents by means of having laws made specifically against single parent employment discrimination.

Grace writes to help people learn more about employment and the law. She does work for different companies, including a company that provides Oklahoma employment law ( services.

Steps For Preventing False Workers' Compensation Claims

When you are an employer it is important to ensure your employees are being productive and efficient. However, it is also your responsibility to ensure that they are safe and secure, taking care to help them should they suffer an injury as the direct result of their employment. Sadly, this obligation is too often taken advantage of in the form of false workers' compensation claims. Luckily there are steps you can take to prevent your employees from attempting this form of fraud.

No matter what field you work in or what your office is like it is possible to have employees fall victim to an injury as a result of their employment. Because of this, it is also possible to fall victim to compensation fraud no matter your field or location. The following steps can help you prevent such fraud from occurring:
  • Have mandatory comprehensive safety training for all employees, which will not only help prevent accidents but it will also give all employees and employers the knowledge necessary to initially assess the validity of a workers' compensation claim.
  • Have equipment readily available that helps with physical tasks that are particularly strenuous, such as lifting items over 35 pounds in weight, which will give workers the ability to make safer choices, producing less opportunity for fraudulent claims.
  • Take efforts to adequately educate your employees on the negative impacts of workers' compensation fraud. This can effectively discourage workers from negatively impacting the business as a whole through fraudulent claims.
These simple steps can prevent accidents and the opportunity for accidents in the workplace. This can help decrease the chances for a false workers' compensation claim to be filed. However, if you do have an employee make a claim for compensation you believe may be false, it is imperative you have legal assistance in order to protect your rights and the interests of your business.

If you would like to know more about business law and workers' compensation fraud, visit the website of the Texas business lawyers at Slater Kennon & Jameson, LLP today.
David Caldwell

Healing Period Benefits

Workplace injury, even if unexpected, can occur to anyone. To deal with possible financial issues that could arise from the missed time at work, workers' compensation law protects laborers from becoming destitute or unable to pay their bills because of a workplace injury. In the most dangerous cases, injuries can occur that do permanent damage to a person's body. Permanent disability benefits can provide compensation for the time away from work a person requires to properly heal, and benefits specifically designed to pay for recovery time are known as healing period benefits.

These benefits give workers who have been injured permanently an opportunity to address newly encountered physical challenges. During this time, workers can go through physical therapy sessions, attend doctor-recommended treatments, and give themselves time to regain lost strength. As particular injuries, such as lost limbs or fingers, require a significant period of time to adjust to, it is important that injured workers have an opportunity to heal and adjust before returning to work.

Healing period benefits only last as long as they are needed. If an employee has healed as much as a physician believes he or she reasonably will, healing period benefits may be cut, and an employee may be expected to return to work. Likewise, if an employee is healthy enough to return to work and complete his or her normal tasks despite the infirmity, he or she may not continue to receive benefits. Finally, benefits can be stopped if the worker simply starts working again.
As with any workers' compensation funds, filing a successful claim is necessary to receive needed benefits. To learn more about healing period benefits and what an employee can do to bolster his or her financial situation despite a prolonged injury, contact a workers' compensation lawyer.

If you have been injured while on the job, you may be eligible to collect workers' compensation. Contact the Des Moines workers' compensation lawyers of LaMarca & Landry, P.C. today for more information.