Workplace Check, please?

crazzee_shopper

Now a Mrs.
Jan 13, 2010
3,873
0
I'm in california and there's a thing called waiting time penalties. Basically for every day you do not receive your final wages, the company pays out up to 30 calendar days of your daily pay rate as a penalty.

I thought vacation is accrued benefit. It's not required by the government but once a company offers it, they have to be consistent and abide the law. Thus you are entitled to whatever you have accrued. The company is required to maintain accurate payroll records. This lack of documentation is not acceptable. I would contact DOL -wages and hours and file a complaint. Even if you are ok with what they are doing, don't let them do it to someone else.

Under Lily Ledbetter Act that ***** passed you have 180 days from this last check to complain.
 

pr1nc355

Orange Pyramid
O.G.
May 24, 2006
5,009
77
I'm in california and there's a thing called waiting time penalties. Basically for every day you do not receive your final wages, the company pays out up to 30 calendar days of your daily pay rate as a penalty.

I thought vacation is accrued benefit. It's not required by the government but once a company offers it, they have to be consistent and abide the law. Thus you are entitled to whatever you have accrued. The company is required to maintain accurate payroll records. This lack of documentation is not acceptable. I would contact DOL -wages and hours and file a complaint. Even if you are ok with what they are doing, don't let them do it to someone else.

Under Lily Ledbetter Act that ***** passed you have 180 days from this last check to complain.
You're right about CA law. In this state, there are pretty strict laws that protect the employee. ITA with everything you're saying. However, proving that the companies are non-compliant is usually an uphill battle.
 
Mar 10, 2007
6,251
2,591
USA
I'm in california and there's a thing called waiting time penalties. Basically for every day you do not receive your final wages, the company pays out up to 30 calendar days of your daily pay rate as a penalty.

I thought vacation is accrued benefit. It's not required by the government but once a company offers it, they have to be consistent and abide the law. Thus you are entitled to whatever you have accrued. The company is required to maintain accurate payroll records. This lack of documentation is not acceptable. I would contact DOL -wages and hours and file a complaint. Even if you are ok with what they are doing, don't let them do it to someone else.

Under Lily Ledbetter Act that ***** passed you have 180 days from this last check to complain.
Is is public knowledge that you have filed a claim with the state for unpaid wages? Like, will your next employer know that you complained to the state?
 

athena21

Member
Aug 8, 2011
486
10
Is is public knowledge that you have filed a claim with the state for unpaid wages? Like, will your next employer know that you complained to the state?
This is one reason I was worried about going to a lawyer with another manager when I was working for the company. Even though we knew lawsuits for the same thing had been brought up in other states (and won in CA, drastically changing how the company treats managers there), I was afraid just starting something would run my name through the mud not only in the current company, but possibly in any future companies that might do a quick google search on me.

Another interesting thing the lawyer brought up, because he had done a little research into the other cases against the company...all of us who work there had to sign a paper saying if we had any issues with the company, we would bring it up through a mediator provided BY the company....typically a district manager from an area outside your district, so everything is settled within the company. Obviously that person is going to be biased, but apparently it's a quick way to get any future lawsuits thrown out. Even if you didn't sign the paper, there's a clause saying just WORKING for the company past XX date implies you abide by it. I know it's now common in many companies.

In any case, I'm out now, and after having to fight for my final paycheck and still never receiving vaca payout, I will never work for this company again. Originally I thought I was leaving on good terms and maybe would come back as temp holiday help....heck no, they don't deserve an employee as good as I am.
 

crazzee_shopper

Now a Mrs.
Jan 13, 2010
3,873
0
Is is public knowledge that you have filed a claim with the state for unpaid wages? Like, will your next employer know that you complained to the state?
All legal cases are public knowledge if someone searched for it. I'm not sure how extensive most companies will look into things when hiring. Personally, if I was hiring and I became aware of a case of unfair labor practices, I wouldn't hold it against the candidate.
 

crazzee_shopper

Now a Mrs.
Jan 13, 2010
3,873
0
This is one reason I was worried about going to a lawyer with another manager when I was working for the company. Even though we knew lawsuits for the same thing had been brought up in other states (and won in CA, drastically changing how the company treats managers there), I was afraid just starting something would run my name through the mud not only in the current company, but possibly in any future companies that might do a quick google search on me.

Another interesting thing the lawyer brought up, because he had done a little research into the other cases against the company...all of us who work there had to sign a paper saying if we had any issues with the company, we would bring it up through a mediator provided BY the company....typically a district manager from an area outside your district, so everything is settled within the company. Obviously that person is going to be biased, but apparently it's a quick way to get any future lawsuits thrown out. Even if you didn't sign the paper, there's a clause saying just WORKING for the company past XX date implies you abide by it. I know it's now common in many companies.

In any case, I'm out now, and after having to fight for my final paycheck and still never receiving vaca payout, I will never work for this company again. Originally I thought I was leaving on good terms and maybe would come back as temp holiday help....heck no, they don't deserve an employee as good as I am.
Yes, some companies do have grievance policies that requires mediation policies or ADR (alternate dispute resolutions) to alleviate the cost of going to litigation. But everything is suppose to be fair to both parties. Going to mediation means that a neutral third parties facilitate talks where both parties come up with a resolution that both sides are ok with. It's suppose to be a win-win situation. But in the event of stalemate, you should be able to litigate.

If anything, just call your local government agency and let them know that a company is doing unfair labor practices (ULP) so that the agency can investigate.
 

crazzee_shopper

Now a Mrs.
Jan 13, 2010
3,873
0
Cases like this is why I ended up pursuing HR as a career. In my twenties, I worked for a company that abused their employees and were doing illegal HR practices. At the time it was stressful, I didn't know my rights and left looking for a job elsewhere.

Now, I see myself as a checks and balance for my company. It's about implementing fair policies to both the employee and employer and abiding the law. Human capital is the thing that will support the strategic success of the company. Thus, loyalty and retention is super important.

I'm sorry you had to go through this. I'm sorry your HR dept didn't help. Maybe a knock in the head from DOL might knock some sense into them.
 
Mar 10, 2007
6,251
2,591
USA
All legal cases are public knowledge if someone searched for it. I'm not sure how extensive most companies will look into things when hiring. Personally, if I was hiring and I became aware of a case of unfair labor practices, I wouldn't hold it against the candidate.
Is this really a legal case? I know that if I file in small claims it is public, but it seems to me that it really isn't in the best interest of the DOL posts some list somewhere of people who have complained to the state about unfair labor practices.
 

crazzee_shopper

Now a Mrs.
Jan 13, 2010
3,873
0
Is this really a legal case? I know that if I file in small claims it is public, but it seems to me that it really isn't in the best interest of the DOL posts some list somewhere of people who have complained to the state about unfair labor practices.
I should have clarified my response regarding to those who are talking to their independent lawyers for instead of DOL.

DOL keeps all names confidential when you file a complaint with a company. A complaint might lead to an audit of the company's payroll to see if they are in compliance with record keeping and payroll. If DOL finds errors that dates back to 2 years (can be 3 years pending severity), they will make the employer rectify the error.

See link for more info: http://www.hraccessnorthamerica.com/uploads/files/PreventingandSurvivingaDOLAudit.pdf
 

athena21

Member
Aug 8, 2011
486
10
DOL keeps all names confidential when you file a complaint with a company. A complaint might lead to an audit of the company's payroll to see if they are in compliance with record keeping and payroll.

Hmmm...I didn't see anything on the DOL's website to indicate my identity would be protected if I filed a complaint. That's why I waited and asked the lawyer who was giving me advice, and he confirmed that my company would absolutely know my identity from the complaint. And while it would be illegal to fire me for filing a complaint, knowing the company they'd have found some way to get rid of me if I filed something.
 

crazzee_shopper

Now a Mrs.
Jan 13, 2010
3,873
0
Hmmm...I didn't see anything on the DOL's website to indicate my identity would be protected if I filed a complaint. That's why I waited and asked the lawyer who was giving me advice, and he confirmed that my company would absolutely know my identity from the complaint. And while it would be illegal to fire me for filing a complaint, knowing the company they'd have found some way to get rid of me if I filed something.
From the DOL website (http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs44.htm)

The WHD conducts investigations for a number of reasons, all having to do with enforcement of the laws and assuring an employer’s compliance. WHD does not typically disclose the reason for an investigation. Many are initiated by complaints. All complaints are confidential; the name of the worker and the nature of the complaint are not disclosable; whether a complaint exists may not be disclosed.
 

Lioness71

Lioness71
Dec 18, 2009
96
2
Chicago
This is a response to crazee_shopper's posts. I'm not an attorney but I have corporate experience in Benefits Finance. Many of the links provided are referencing aspects of employment law that don't really apply to the OP's vacation complaint, such as FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act).

Vacation/PTO is generally not covered by federal law, so I doubt DOL has much, if any, jurisdiction here. There is no federal requirement to pay employees for time not worked. Vacation pay is not wage pay. It depends on the company's policy and practices as to the payout of unused vacation time, and enforcement would likely be a state matter.

I'm not sure how Ledbetter is relevant here - I don't see anything in OP's post that this has anything to do with pay discrimination.
 

crazzee_shopper

Now a Mrs.
Jan 13, 2010
3,873
0
This is a response to crazee_shopper's posts. I'm not an attorney but I have corporate experience in Benefits Finance. Many of the links provided are referencing aspects of employment law that don't really apply to the OP's vacation complaint, such as FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act).

Vacation/PTO is generally not covered by federal law, so I doubt DOL has much, if any, jurisdiction here. There is no federal requirement to pay employees for time not worked. Vacation pay is not wage pay. It depends on the company's policy and practices as to the payout of unused vacation time, and enforcement would likely be a state matter.

I'm not sure how Ledbetter is relevant here - I don't see anything in OP's post that this has anything to do with pay discrimination.
You're right. Ledbetter is definitely not relevant here. I didn't read the thread clearly before quoting Ledbetter. That was my mistake.

As far as vacation/PTO, I guess every state is different. My response is based on California and I have to remember that California is not like the other states. My understanding is that vacation and PTO is not a required benefit. But once an employer offers it, the employer needs to follow regulations regarding the benefit. Thus the DOL reference as I would think it'll fall under Hours and Wages. If you have accrued vacation and PTO, (in California) the employer needs to pay out what you have accrued in your last paycheck. They do not have to pay out on sick accrual.

This is why it's best practice to max the amount an employee can accrue as it is a financial burden that the employer carries in its financials.

Personally, if this happened to me, I would contact DOL and just speak to someone. If DOL is not the right agency to go to, they can help direct me to the appropriate agency.
 

Lioness71

Lioness71
Dec 18, 2009
96
2
Chicago
My understanding is that vacation and PTO is not a required benefit. But once an employer offers it, the employer needs to follow regulations regarding the benefit. Thus the DOL reference as I would think it'll fall under Hours and Wages.
You're correct that an employer does need to follow regulations if they offer vacation/PTO, but those are state, not federal, laws. The DOL specifically excludes itself (and its divisions, including Wage and Hours) from oversight of vacation pay except in certain instances like government contracting or FML. It's pretty clearly stated on their website. The place to start is with state law, which should define infractions and the claims process. Small claims court may be another possibility.

Crazzee, I'm not picking on you, truly. I just don't want anyone who may reference this thread in the future to spend time barking up the DOL tree if they're in a similar situation with a vacation payout. Now, the OP's issue with her pay for time worked (8 vs 9 hours) could be a DOL/FLSA matter, but that's very different from a legal perspective.
 
Mar 10, 2007
6,251
2,591
USA
Just to update you all -- I decided to go with a collection agency, rather than suing myself or calling the DOL to complain that I was really an employee rather than contractor. I figure if they can't do it, I would have been wasting my time and money anyways.