Under California statutory law, “wages” enjoy a very broad definition. Case law has included “bonuses” in the definition. Why does that matter to California employees?
If you are discharged, any wages you have earned up to and including the date of termination are due and payable – immediately on the date of termination. Employees who find themselves in the regrettable situation of being let go or fired (or even in need of quitting) should expect payment in full of all wages earned prior to signing any release, etc. California employers who fail to pay wages in a timely manner (that is, on the date of termination) can find themselves subject to waiting time penalties, interest and/or attorney’s fees.
Waiting Time Penalties: California employers who fail to pay wages due an employee on the date of their termination “willfully,” the wages of said employee will continue as a penalty from date of termination (at the same rate) until paid or other appropriate action is taken.
Interest: The court awards interest on all due and unpaid wages at an annual rate of 10% accruing from the date wages were due/payable.
Attorney’s Fees: When action is brought for nonpayment of wages, benefits, etc. reasonable attorney’s fees can be awarded to the prevailing party by the court.
California law has employees leaving a job covered. There should be no reason to lose wages already earned. There should not even be a reason to wait for wages already earned.
To resolve non-payment issues with previous employers quickly and professionally, contact Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik.