No one deserves to be cheated by their employer. All too often, though, California workers aren’t paid what they’re owed. This puts them in a difficult position where they either need to request appropriate pay from their employer, which can put them at risk of retaliation, or they have to move forward without the pay that they’ve earned.
Neither option is great, but if you’re in that position, then you need to fight for the pay that you’re owed. Your employer is disallowed from retaliating against you, so you should take some comfort knowing that the law protects you from negative employment actions taken against you simply because you file a wage claim. But the process can still be scary, which is why we’ve compiled some tips that might help you get through the process.
Tips for navigating your wage claim
It can be stressful to enter the legal arena, especially if you’ve never had to do so before. But here are some steps that you can take to make the process easier and put yourself in a better position to succeed on your claim:
- Gather relevant documentation: Before proceeding with your wage claim, you’re going to need key documentation at your disposal. This includes your pay stubs showing your rate of pay, any written communications that demonstrate your attempts to remedy the pay disparity, your time records, and a copy of your employer’s policies and employee handbooks. This information will give you a good launching pad for your claim.
- Speak with co-workers: You might not be alone in your plight to recover the pay that you’re owed. While you don’t need other victims to succeed on your claim, they can certainly help you build a stronger case. By talking to your co-workers, you might find that there are other individuals who haven’t been paid what they’re owed but are too scared to speak out, which can give your claim more credibility.
- Know the law: You don’t need to be an attorney to pursue your case. After all, you can find that help from a skilled professional if you need to. However, having a basic understanding of the law and how it applies to your set of circumstances can help give you some direction as you pursue your claim. So, take some time to read up on the law so that you know what you need to prove going into your case and the deadlines by which you need to file your claim.
- Know how you’d like to settle your claim: Not all wage claims end up resolved without the need for full blown litigation, but a fair number of them do. Therefore, as you enter the legal arena, you should think about what you’d like to see from a settlement offer so that when negotiations kick off you know where you want to get. This will give you direction as you develop your negotiation strategy.
You have to be persistent, honest, and professional as you navigate your wage claim. You should be sure to comply with investigators, if your employer is in fact under investigation, and be sure to document everything. By following all these tips, you’ll hopefully find yourself in a stronger position going forward.
Know how to build the wage claim that’s right for you
We know that dealing with lost pay can be stressful, and the thought of calling your employer out can be overwhelming. But you deserve to be treated fairly, and you should be paid what you’re owed. When that doesn’t happen, you should be prepared to take strong legal action to protect your interests. That requires knowing the law and how to zealously advocate for yourself. Fortunately, help is available in that regard if you feel like you need it.