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  1. #1
    tc1811 is offline Junior Member
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    Statute of Limitations for collecting wages due

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? California

    I would liketo know what the statute of limitations is to collect wages owed to me. I would like to file a small claims suite against the party who has not paid me wages due but I was informed there may be a statute of limitations for filing a suite.

    Thank you
  2. #2
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    I don't believe there is a statue of limitations on unpaid wages.

    However, federal law awards additional "liquidated damages" equal to your salary. For the extra liquidated damages, the statue of limitations are up to three years.
  3. #3
    pattytx is offline Senior Member
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    Why aren't you filing a claim with the DLSE?
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    You have not won the law suit lottery; in fact, you haven't even won the law suit scratch-off.
  4. #4
    tc1811 is offline Junior Member
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    Reply

    I am pursueing through small claims because it is below the small claims limit and the emplyor was a private property owner. Filing through small claims will be much faster and easier to handle. There will be no government investigation needed. Small claims is fast simple and convenient.

    After reserching further there is FEDERAL STATUTE of Limitations of 2 years unless the employer is a willful violator. If found to be a willful violator the statute is 3 years.

    Now I am having trouble getting the information on what constututes a willful violator? Anyone have an idea? If the court finds the employer owes me the wages I would think they become a willful violator. (Note : the wages were not paid because the employer had finacial problems and claims damages were done to the property while I was working....)

    Thanks
    Last edited by tc1811; 04-23-2009 at 08:46 PM. Reason: additional information provided
  5. #5
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    The federal statue of limitations that you are referring to only applies to liquidated damages.

    Unpaid wages also falls under contract law, where the statue of limitations are greater than 3 years.

    Willful means "total disregard to the law".

    A counter claim would prove that your employer is NOT willful.

    Not having money is not a good defense to willfulness.
  6. #6
    ArmyRetCW3 is offline Member
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    Definition of willful under FLSA:

    "a willful FSLA violation occurs when "the employer either knew or showed reckless disregard for the matter of whether its conduct was prohibited by the statute."
    However, when an employer engages in a "willful violation" of the FLSA, the statute of limitations is three years. Not only is the statute of limitations extended, but a finding of a willful violation also allows the plaintiff to collect liquidated damages

    A 2-year statute of limitations applies to the recovery of back pay, except in the case of willful violation, in which case a 3-year statute applies.

    578.3 What types of violations may result in a penalty being assessed?

    (a) A penalty of up to $1,000 per violation may be assessed against any per-son who repeatedly or willfully violates section 6 (minimum wage) or section 7 (overtime) of the Act; Provided, how-ever, that for any violation occurring on or after January 7, 2002 the civil money penalty amount will increase to up to $1,100. The amount of the penalty will be determined by applying the criteria in 578.4.

    (b) Repeated violations. An employer’s violation of section 6 or section 7 of the Act shall be deemed to be ‘‘repeated’’ for purposes of this section:

    (1) Where the employer has previously violated section 6 or 7 of the Act, provided the employer has previously received notice, through a responsible official of the Wage and Hour Division or otherwise authoritatively, that the employer allegedly was in violation of the provisions of the Act; or

    (2) Where a court or other tribunal has made a finding that an employer has previously violated section 6 or 7 of the Act, unless an appeal therefrom which has been timely filed is pending before a court or other tribunal with Wage and Hour Division, Labor jurisdiction to hear the appeal, or unless the finding has been set aside or reversed by such appellate tribunal.

    (c) Willful violations.

    (1) An employer’s violation of section 6 or section 7 of the Act shall be deemed to be ‘‘willful’’ for purposes of this section where the employer knew that its conduct was prohibited by the Act or showed reckless disregard for the requirements of the Act. All of the facts and circumstances surrounding the violation shall be taken into account in deter-mining whether a violation was willful.

    (2) For purposes of this section, an employer’s conduct shall be deemed knowing, among other situations, if the employer received advice from a responsible
    official of the Wage and Hour Division to the effect that the conduct in question is not lawful.

    (3) For purposes of this section, an employer’s conduct shall be deemed to be in reckless disregard of the requirements of the Act, among other situations, if the employer should have inquired further into whether its conduct was in compliance with the Act, and failed to make adequate further inquiry.
    Last edited by ArmyRetCW3; 04-24-2009 at 12:20 PM.

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