Can I Sue My Employer If I Am Paid Less Than Minimum Wage?

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Yes. Generally, employees who are paid less than the California Minimum Wage are entitled to file claims for back pay or unpaid wages. However, the employee must prove in court or the California Labor Commission the employer’s willful violation of the California Labor Code.
The current California Minimum Wage is $8.00 per hour. Unless exempted by law, such as apprentices, learners, workers with disabilities and commission-based salespersons, California employers are required to pay their employees more than the state minimum wage. However, in some cities and business districts where a local minimum wage ordinance has been enacted, the minimum hourly rate will have to be followed.
If your employer pays you less than the California Minimum Wage, you may be entitled to collect the unpaid wages and liquidated damages, as specifically provided in California Labor Code Section 1194.2. Seeking the assistance of an experienced California Wage Law Attorney is the best thing for you, should you find yourself in this legal predicament.
The California Wage Law Attorney will review and evaluate your case, and depending on the violations committed by the employer, your legal counsel will have to file necessary legal action. Employees will usually have several options when considering how to claim unpaid salary, overtime compensation, liquidated damages and other financial benefits.
First, the parties involved (employee and employer) can come to a mutually agreeable negotiation and settlement agreement. As much as possible, employers will settle labor issues through informal negotiations to avoid getting dragged in the tedious legal process and avoid potential penalties. Although many California Wage Law Attorneys considered this an effective approach, employees are often at the losing end.
Second, you can file a wage complaint with the California Labor Commission through the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. Wage claim filed with the DLSE can only recover unpaid wages and benefits in the last three years. Technically, claims filed with the Labor Commissioner are not considered lawsuit and are often resolved within 3 months. Although anyone can file a wage claim, seeking the professional advice of a proficient California Wage Law Attorney would be beneficial for your case.
Finally, you can choose to file a claim in the Superior Court to recover back pay, penalties and applicable liquidated damages. In most cases, filing a lawsuit before the courts is the best recourse because the employee may recover certain penalties which are not usually awarded if the case is remedied by the Labor Commissioner.
The bottom line: the California Labor Code entitles all employees to just compensation and recovery of all necessary compensation. With the guidance of a California Wage Law Attorney, you can receive what is due you.

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