My husband was fired last weekafter 25 years. He was paid his final wages that day but no vacation pay that was still on the books. 7 days according to his payroll person. How can he recover it? His ex boss wont budge.

His payroll person admitted he still has 7 days vacation on the books but one of the owners told her dont pay it because he rejoined carpenters union 5 years ago and the vacation pay theyve been paying him is just an extra perk because he is still salary. But why now can they take it away when he was never told otherwise the past 5 years. If thats the case he should have been paid overtime all these years since he rejoined Carpenters union.

1 answer  |  asked Apr 20, 2016 4:52 PM [EST]  |  applies to California

Answers (1)

Marilynn Mika Spencer
In this unusual circumstance, your husband's membership in the union is irrelevant to what his pay and vacation benefits are. What matters is whether he was in the bargaining unit – the group of job classifications covered by the union-employer contract (collective bargaining agreement). If he was paid differently from the contract specifications, ad if his vacation was earned per the employer's policies and not per the contract, and if he was not considered part of the union for any other purpose, then your husband's employer is probably just trying to pull a fast one.

If your husband is owed the vacation pay: California law requires employers to pay an employee's final wages at the time the employer ends the employment, or within 72 hours if the employee resigns without giving 72 hours notice. "Final wages" consist of regular pay, overtime pay, accrued and unused vacation pay, commissions that can be calculated, some bonuses and perhaps other components. It does not include unused sick leave.

If the employer ends the employment, the payment must be made at the place of termination.

If the employee quits without giving 72 hours notice AND does not request that final wages be mailed to a particular address, then this payment must be made at the office of the employer within the county where the work was performed.

If an employee previously authorized direct deposit, that authorization is immediately terminated when an employee quits or is discharged, and the employer must make the final wage payment as above UNLESS the employee voluntarily authorized the direct deposit AND the employer makes the payment on time, as described above.

If the employer does not pay as required, there is a penalty against the employer and in favor of the employee: the employee’s pay continues as if the employee were still working, every day until the employer pays in full, up to a maximum of 30 days. The employee is entitled to interest at 10 per cent per annum on the unpaid amount. Also, if the employee must go to court to get his or her pay, then the employee is awarded reasonable attorney’s fees and costs of suit.

Your husband can collect any unpaid vacation pay via the DLSE, without charge. The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) is a sub-agency within the California Department of Industrial Relations. Some people refer to the DLSE as the Labor Commissioner. The DLSE enforces California's wage and hour laws, including those pertaining to overtime, rest and meal breaks, and more. The link for information on filing a wage claim is here:

Now . . . it is suspicious that your husband was fired after such long employment. If he suspects age discrimination or another improper purpose, he should speak with an attorney ASAP. To find a plaintiffs employment attorney in California, please go to the web site of the California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA). CELA is the largest and most influential bar association in the state for attorneys who represent working people. The web site is Click on "Find a CELA Member" and you can search by location and practice area. Many CELA attorneys represent clients throughout the state.

I hope there is a good resolution to this situation.

posted by Marilynn Mika Spencer  |  May 7, 2016 5:12 PM [EST]

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