Employers are required under state and federal laws to pay workers the wages they have rightfully earned. If your employer has not paid you for the work you have done, you may be entitled to receive those unpaid wages as well as interest and penalties. You may also be able to receive compensation for court costs and attorney's fees in addition to being able to bring other claims such as wrongful termination if your employer has retaliated against you for filing an unpaid wages lawsuit by firing you.
You need an experienced California employment lawyer to represent you in an unpaid wages lawsuit. While you may believe you could do it on your own, employment law is complicated.
There are procedures, protocols and strict deadline within which you will need to collect evidence, compile complex information and file your claim. This is why it helps to have a knowledgeable lawyer on your side helping you and protecting your rights every step of the way.
Common Forms of Wage Theft in California
Each year, nearly $15 billion in wages are stolen from workers across the nation. The California Department of Industrial Relations estimates that in 2020 alone, over 7,000 wage theft claims were filed just in the Bay Area. Wage theft could happen to anyone. Common types of wage theft include:
- Getting paid under the minimum wage
- Not being paid for overtime work
- Working off the clock
- Stolen tips
- Not receiving a paycheck after leaving a job'
- Missing meal breaks and rest breaks
- Late payment
- Stolen tips
- Bring misclassified as an independent contractor when you are an employee
What Can a Lawyer Do?
In addition to understanding whether or not your employer has violated state or federal laws, an employment lawyer in Los Angeles can present you with options for questioning your employer's conduct, evaluate your specific situation and determine whether you have an unpaid wages lawsuit.
Discussing Your Options
When an employer violates wage and hour laws, an employee can file a lawsuit against the employer. However, in a number of situations, you may have other options as well. For example, in California, you can file a claim for unpaid wages against your employer with the state labor department. They will then hold a hearing to issue a finding on the claim. Some may decide to go this route because it may not be as expensive as a lawsuit. However, it could recover the amount of damages you recover.
A different option may be contact your employer to informally negotiate a settlement with regard to your wage claim. An employment lawyer can help you conduct an honest evaluation and assist you with making an informed decision about what course you should take.
Analyzing Cost Versus Benefit
An experienced California employment lawyer can also take a look at all your case details and let you know how much it might cost you to file a claim and go through the process. Your lawyer might be able to give you an idea of how much you might recover in damages and the attorney's fees you may have to pay to pursue the claim. There are also cases where you will be paid attorney's fees and court costs.
How Much Will the Lawyer Cost?
One of the most important factors individuals look at before considering any type of legal action is how much it's going to cost them. Before retaining the lawyer, ask the lawyer for an estimate of fees and costs for pursuing different options. Ask the lawyer what fee structure they can offer you.
At Kingsley & Kingsley Lawyers, for example, we take cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that you don't pay us anything unless we recover compensation for you. Our fee is a percentage of you recovery. By discussing fees and costs before hand, you may get a good feel for how much the entire process could cost you and how much you may secure.
Costs of Litigation
In addition to attorney's fees, you may be looking at other costs in a lawsuit including filing fees, expenses relating to deposition, fees to give expert witnesses and so on. Your lawyer will be able to give you a rundown on these costs as well.
It is important to remember that your employer cannot retaliate against you for filing an unpaid claims lawsuit. This means that they cannot fire you, demote you, deny you training opportunities or transfer you to a less desirable position simply because you filed an unpaid wages lawsuit.
If you believe your employer has not paid you wages due, the experienced Los Angeles unpaid wage attorneys at Kingsley & Kingsley Lawyers can help you better understand your legal rights and options. We understand that the issue of unpaid wages not only places an unfair financial burden on working families, but also has an emotional impact. Call our law offices today to schedule your no-cost consultation and case evaluation.