California Labor Code Section 1194.2 “Liquidated Damages” When Paid Less Than Minimum Wage

Under the California Labor Code, employees covered by the wage and hour laws may be entitled to receive liquidated damages for employer’s failure, underpayment or nonpayment of wages and benefits. With the help of a California Wage Law Attorney, the aggrieved employee can claim unpaid back pay, wages or overtime pay.
What are Liquidated Damages?
The state labor law, as much as federal laws, mandates employers to pay their workers within the required California Minimum Wage. Violation of the wage and hour laws may be a valid ground for claims of liquidated damages.

Unfortunately, majority of employees, as well as employers, are not aware of the full effects of California Labor Code Section 1194.2. This section of the law entitles employees “to recover liquidated damages in an amount equal to the wages unlawfully unpaid and interest thereon.” Moreover, the law guarantees compensation of all necessary legal expenses arising from the implementation of the law.

Liquidated damages are considered as an award of damages or penalty assessed against employers proven to have violated the wage law. Under the California Labor Code, the amount of liquidated damages is equal to the unpaid or lost wages. Take note, however, that the California Labor Code Section 1194.2 likewise protects employers from unnecessary claims. Specifically, this section puts the burden of proof on the employee, which means the employee must prove the employer’s willful violation of the law. As such, it is necessary to hire the services of a California Wage Law Attorney to strengthen wage claims. While most courts presume that the employer willfully committed the violation, some cases end up with negotiation because of the employee’s failure to prove direct neglect of the law. This underlines the importance of having a California Wage Law Attorney to guide employers throughout the legal process.

Generally, complaints about unjust compensation and labor practices are initially addressed by the California Labor Commission. But for more serious cases, filing a lawsuit before an administrative court may be necessary. Aside from liquidated damages, the court may rule the employer payment of prejudgment interest as well as punitive damages, which are an award of money entitled to the aggrieved employee.

The California Labor Code can be complicated, and a qualified California Wage Law Attorney can best assist you with any question or labor claims you have in mind.

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