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Late Paycheck: California Labor Law Violation?

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Ventura, CA: Perry Floros believes that his employer, the US Postal Service, is violating the California labor law by not paying its employees on time. He has contacted the California Labor Board and the Department of Labor but still can’t get a definitive answer. Perry is hopeful that an experienced wage and hour attorney can advise him—is the US Postal Service violating the California labor code and labor laws nationwide?

Late Paycheck: California Labor Law Violation?Perry is one of about 580,000 people that work for the US Postal Service. Because he is the local steward for his post office, Perry has received a number of complaints regarding late paychecks.

“Frankly I am disturbed that this practice happens and I want it to stop,” Perry says, “and I have no hesitation using my name because I am opposed to my employer breaking the California labor law and the federal law.

“Since I became shop steward I notice this practice more frequently because I am now the ‘go to’ guy. Just a few months ago a co-worker told me that he and several other employees didn’t get their paychecks. I went immediately to management and said in no uncertain terms that they must pay their employees by a cash advance--they can issue money orders. Two employees were told earlier in the day that they couldn’t be paid and had to come back next week, regardless whether they are scheduled to work or not. Some of these people are part-time so they have to make an effort to return to the main office and possibly pay for transportation to pick up their checks.

“A more recent incident happened to a co-worker I know personally. He is in desperate need of income and must get paid on time. He had to wait eight days after the due payday, which is more than two weeks after the pay period. He had to live off his credit card so he was forced to pay late fees and overcharges incurred. This isn’t right.”

Perry is right in that he needs an experienced California employee labor law attorney to advise him. Although the California labor law requires that wages are to be paid on the regular pay day due, there is no automatic fine if the employer misses a day. (This is not to be confused with getting your final paycheck upon termination.) However, a lawsuit can be filed…

The latest incident happened to a part-time employee who asked Perry to file a grievance because his paycheck didn’t get electronically deposited in his account. He wasn’t scheduled to work the next week and it was difficult to return each day looking for his paycheck.

“During the grievance process (the first meeting discusses the case and we try to find a resolution process) I questioned the postmaster about the reasons why the cash advance was denied,” Perry explains. "She argued that the employee didn’t bother to come in the following week to get his money. She said it was his fault for not showing up the following week. They said there was nothing they could do about it. In other words, the postal service is blaming their employee for not coming in every day the following week to see if his check was available.

“But I know the postal service policy regulations state otherwise. The postal service has specific guidelines for the management to follow when a missing or lost paycheck occurs. When this employee asked for a cash advance—as stated in our company policy handbook—they still refused to accept accountability.”

Perry’s incident happened a few years ago, but it had to do with a pay error. “Again, I brought it to management’s attention, told them to correct it, but it took an exorbitant amount of time—about six weeks--before it was corrected,” Perry says. “They corrected a portion of it on the next pay check but I didn’t get my full pay until about three pay checks later.

“I was a shop steward a long time as a letter carrier—believe me, I can write a book about all the labor law violations. Now I am at a point in my life where I want to do something about it. If I don’t get involved now, I never will. This is what I need to give back to my union that has represented me well over the past 24 years.

“I checked with theDivision of Labor Standards Enforcement and I have sent a number of emails to the California labor board. Even after the volumes of information I have read about California labor law, I still don’t know if the postal service is exempt. I heard that the postal service, a federal government agency, is exempt from many state laws.

“Then I found Lawyers and Settlements. I was just contacted by your attorney and I’m hopeful that I will finally get some answers. With this practice happening to so many people, perhaps the postal service needs someone to file a class action lawsuit so they will stop violating the labor laws.”

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READER COMMENTS

Posted by
Jim Gilly
on
I am an employer with an average of 2-4 employees at any time. for over 15 years now, I have had a payroll service. the hours are reported on Tuesday of the following week and sent out the following day (Wednesday). Typically the checks arrive to the employee on Thursday or Friday. some not till Saturday. In some cases for reasons unknown to me the checks don't arrive til Monday. A sometimes burden on my employee. Once the checks are placed in the US mail, it becomes Federal. My payroll service is 30 miles away from my place of work and processes take place Tuesday night for Wednesday mail out. I can't see this as a violation when the post mark clearly indicates a proper issue of the paychecks.
Your thoughts please.

Posted by
Toochie
on
I am going thru this now. I was hired as a CCA on March 9th 2015, I completed my training on March 13th 2015. I was then assign to my station in Oakland,CA on March 16th 2015 at 9:30 A.M. Which I worked a 8hour shift that day with my OJI on the job trainer. Upon my return that day I was then told by the Manager that wasn't to return until they were able to locate my EIN number and that as soon as she gets my EIN they would call me to return, because It would be like me working for free. So I'm thinking okay a day or two wouldn't hurt but NO A whole week went by, so I got worried because I'm received an eviction notice from my landlord during my so called wait period to locate my EIN number. So I called my union rep at Union Station 1111 on March 23rd 2015. I began to explain I've been home for a whole week on a wait period for my EIN number. He explains that I can be at work without an EIN number, the Manager would have to do a salary adjustment and he said the Manager was a no brainer. So calls her and talks to her regarding the situation, she than asked me if I want to work or not? I told him yes, he than days the Manager said to report to work on Tuesday March 24th 2015 at 8:00 A.M. and so I did. I continue to work the whole week and that Friday March 27th 2015 which was payday for everyone, I asked the Manager trainee for my check she said I don't have one but to talk to the station manager because an adjustment needs to be done. So after my schedule route that Friday I return to the office and spoke with her and she told me to give her my hours the next Monday March 30th 2015 and she would do a salary adjustment for me. So on Saturday March 28th after at the end of my 8hrs shift was instructed by the closing manager that someone from management would contact me of the new weeks schedule being that I was off that Sunday March 29th 2015. So again I'm doing the waiting period game again. No contact Monday March 30th, so I decided to text one of the Manager about my schedule no reply so than Tuesday March 31st 2015 I contact the union again but no response from either end so on Wednesday April 1st 2015, I called the Manager after receiving voicemail of reporting to work at 9:00A.M. I called her at 8:00A.M. and resigned. I than asked her for my paycheck and she said she going to put a cancellation on my salary adjustment, and to return my badge and any of the postal belongings and that I won't get my check until a month. I'm still waiting for my paycheck because I was never paid period since I started with them Is this RIGHT AT ALL???

Posted by
Rebecca Dehart
on
I quit my job over a month ago, and just now received my last paycheck today (12/31/14). i have the envelope to show the date. I've also been living on literal scraps just to make it. is there anything i can do?

Posted by
Tresa
on
I'm currently working at the post office in Eagan MN. I haven't received my paycheck in 6 weeks. I have contacted mang & HR but no one is helping. Please help?

Posted by
JMP
on
I've been with working a job through a staffing agency, I receive direct deposit but am constantly receiving my pay late. I have filed a complaint with labor commissions in CA but it continues to happen. what else can I do?

Posted by
shelly
on
How much time does an employer have to pay his workers before he's breaking the law in California ? We are suppose to get paid every week. I started work 4/8/14, & I still haven't got paid. Are they breaking the law.

Posted by
shelly
on
I just started a new job with the Union I belonged to. It sounded like a great opportunity. Great pay & the work wan't that hard. I suppose to get paid weekly. I started my jo & 4/8/14 it is now 5/6/14. I live in California, i'm a single mother i need the money now. How do I demand my money without losing my job.

Posted by
Suemy Servin
on
Every time our payday will land on a weekend they will pay us that Friday..they tried saying they were gonna start paying us till Monday but someone looked it up and said its against the law holding employees check after payady that they would have to pay u interest ...so they kept it the way its been ..now with outh notice there saying cause it lands on Sunday there not gonna pay us till Monday pay day is the 25 is that kk??

Posted by
Private
on
Hi. I work for Sears Holdings. I am a new hire. I did not get my paycheck and am getting the run around. Many long time employees have informed me that it took between 2 and 4 weeks for them to get their first paycheck. It does not make it right. What is the point of labor laws in California if they are not enforced. This is an outrage.

Posted by
Maria Zapanta
on
I am currently working in the hospital and they failed to pay me last Friday, July 5, 2013. They told me that somebody forgot to put me back into the system when I came back to work as a modified after I had been on disability for a month. I have been dealing with management and human resources up to this very day because they haven't issued a paycheck. per human resources, they told me that there is a 10 day processing after my paperworks have been submitted. Papers were sent late and nobody from human resources had given me answers. i feel like they are bouncing me around back and forth and i don't know who i should talk to. I don't know if I can get any compensation pay or file a hardship since its been 6 days already. I just needed advise. Thank you.

Posted by
Sidney Ware
on
I worked as a casual mail clerk at the Bell, Ca location and was fired on 6/13/2013. When I attempted to report to work on 6/14th, that's when I was told and they didn't give me my final check. They told me to come in and pick it up on 6/21 (well after when I should have received it). Then they told me it wasn't there. They told me to call various people and location, but still I don't have my final paycheck. Earlier this week, I spoke to the finance person by the name of H. Wong who told me my check had been put in mail. But when I called him today (June 28th), he claimed he didn't speak to me. I asked about the cash advance for which he stated they no longer did, which I know was a lie. As of June 28, 2013 I still haven't received my pay.

Posted by
Jessie
on
I have a similar problem, my payroll check is mailed out to me every two weeks. The check is postmarked two days prior to payday but I don't receive it till 3 to 4 days after payday. I spoke with my employer and was told that it's not there responsibility if I don't get the check when due. I read Labor Code 212 but there is nothing stating what responsibility my employer has to make sure I get my check on the day that it's due.

Below is what Human Resource send me, but it did not address receiving my pay check 2 to 3 days after it due.

Here is an excerpt of the response from Corp Legal – they had research done by a California legal firm specializing in employment law.

Mailing a live check to an employee is valid under California law. However, if an employee is terminated, s/he must be paid all owing wages and unused vacation immediately at the time of termination. To avoid statutory waiting time penalties for failing to deliver final wages upon termination, the best practice is to hand deliver any final wages to the employee at the office or location of employment. An employee can, however, elect to receive termination wages by mail.

I would appreciate if anyone has and answer.

Posted by
Rodger Cassel
on
I agree with Hayley's comment, partly. There should be a penalty. I had it happen to me when I was in the pipefitter's union. Raytheon, didn't get our checks to us until Monday morning when we all returned to work. We all were on double time around the clock until end of work on Monday. That was a big penalty.

Posted by
hayley
on
i think this is rediculous. they should just make an automatic penalty charge if they miss the pay day. i would even be willing to give them a 72 hour grace period. i think thats pretty reasonable amount of time to get a paycheck to your employee.

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