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Q: California employment and resignation ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: California employment and resignation
Category: Business and Money > Employment
Asked by: raju01h-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 03 Aug 2005 16:30 PDT
Expires: 02 Sep 2005 16:30 PDT
Question ID: 551417
Hi, I have a question about California labor law as it pertains to
resignations.  I gave two weeks notice, in writing, to go to a
competitor and was told to leave the same day (as expected.) 
Additionally, I may owe some portion of my signing bonus back to the
company.  Since I gave two weeks notice, can the company hold my last
paycheck/vacation payout etc. till those two weeks are up or hold it
until I pay back anything I owe?

Request for Question Clarification by hagan-ga on 04 Aug 2005 06:24 PDT
When you say you were told to leave the same day, do you mean that you
were terminated?  Or are you still entitled to be paid for that last
two weeks, and just don't have to come to work?

Clarification of Question by raju01h-ga on 04 Aug 2005 06:58 PDT
neither.  I wasn't terminated, but since I went to a competitor, it
would not be in their best interest to have me stay at work (I
completely understand this and was expecting this.)  Since this was an
employement "at-will" I also am pretty sure they are not obliged to
pay me for the two weeks and I don't think they intend on doing so.  I
hope I answered your question.
Subject: Re: California employment and resignation
Answered By: hagan-ga on 04 Aug 2005 07:39 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Yes, that clarification helped.  

You're entitled to payment of your full wages within 72 hours of the
end of employment.  California Labor Code Section 202(a):
"202.  (a) If an employee not having a written contract for a
definite period quits his or her employment, his or her wages shall
become due and payable not later than 72 hours thereafter, unless the
employee has given 72 hours previous notice of his or her intention
to quit, in which case the employee is entitled to his or her wages
at the time of quitting."

See also:
"1. What are my rights regarding final pay if I have been terminated/resigned?

"If you have been terminated, your employer must pay you your final
paycheck at the time of termination or your last day of work. If you
voluntarily resign, you should receive your final paycheck within 72
hours of your last day of work. You also are entitled to your prorata
vacation pay (but not sick leave pay) within 72 hours of your last day
of work."

"The Top 6 Things Employers Do to Get Sued"
"Final paycheck deadlines depend on whether the employee was
terminated, laid off, quit without notice, or quit with at least 72
hours notice. A terminated employee is entitled to all final wages,
including unused vacation, at the time of termination. The same
applies to a layoff, unless there is a return-to-work date within the
same pay period.
"An employee who quits with fewer than 72 hours notice must receive a
final paycheck no later than 72 hours after notice is given. An
employee who quits with more than 72 hours notice is entitled to a
final paycheck on the last day of work.
"An employer may refuse to pay final wages only if the employee owes
the employer money due to gross negligence, willful misconduct or
dishonesty. These often are difficult and expensive to prove.
"Failure to meet a final paycheck dead-line subjects an employer to
waiting time penalties. This penalty is a continuation of the
employee's wages on a day-to-day basis until the final paycheck is
ready, up to a maximum of 30 days."

The employer is not permitted to set off the amount due them against
your wages.  They must demand it separately, and pay you the full
wages due whether or not you owe them money.  There are many sources
for this prohibition, and it is well settled in the law.

Labor Code Section 203:
"203.  If an employer willfully fails to pay, without abatement or
reduction, in accordance with Sections 201, 201.5, 202, and 205.5,
any wages of an employee who is discharged or who quits, the wages of
the employee shall continue as a penalty from the due date thereof
at the same rate until paid or until an action therefor is commenced;
but the wages shall not continue for more than 30 days."

Labor Code Section 221:
"221.  It shall be unlawful for any employer to collect or receive
from an employee any part of wages theretofore paid by said employer
to said employee."

"[A]n employer is not entitled to a setoff of debts owing it by an
employee against any wages due that employee."
_Barnhill v. Robert Saunders & Co._ (1981) 125 Cal.App.3d 1, 8

"In summary, it is clear from the many Labor Code sections set out
above and from Code of Civil Procedure section 487.020, that there is
in this state a fundamental and substantial public policy protecting
an employee's wages, and that protection includes freedom from setoffs
such as the one plaintiff has alleged in his complaint."
_Phillips v. Gemini Moving Specialists_ (1998) 63 Cal.App.4th 563, 574

"Deductions from wages are usually not allowed, with few exceptions.
Many employers have policies allowing them to deduct damages or debts
from an employee?s wages. These policies are generally unlawful.
Employers are not allowed to deduct for unpaid debts owed by the
employee, even where the employee has agreed in writing to reimburse
the employer in full. Damages or losses that result from the simple
negligence or incompetence of an employee may not be deducted from
wages. Moreover, the cost of uniforms and tools should not be deducted
from an employee?s wages, even if the employee has consented in
writing to such a deduction. Based on California case law, such
deductions are unlawful unless theft or culpable negligence can be
shown. (Kerrs Catering Service v. Dept. of Industrial Relations, 57
Cal.2d 319 (1962); Barnhill v. Robert Saunders & Co., 125 Cal.App.3d 1
There is one limited circumstance when an employer can deduct damages
or losses from an employee?s wages. Employers are allowed to deduct
wages for damages caused by an employee?s gross negligence, dishonesty
or willful misconduct."

I hope this was helpful.  Good luck with the new job!
raju01h-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $10.00
very thorough answer.  I had seen variations to this situation, so
thanks for putting it all together!

Subject: Re: California employment and resignation
From: hagan-ga on 04 Aug 2005 10:17 PDT
Wow!  Thank you so much for the kind comments and generous tip!  It's
much appreciated!

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