IfI was getting paid under the table and got fired,can I file a wage claim or anything else?

Fired 2 days ago.

Asked on March 28, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You should speak with an attorney before doing anything, because there are several issues to consider:

1) Legally, you must be paid at least minimum wage for all hours worked, and overtime if you are not exempt from overtime (if you worked on an hourly basis, you are not exempt) for hours over 40, regardless of how you are paid--i.e. "under the table or not." That's basically the only kind of wage claim you might have, anyway--being paid for work actually done to date of termination.

2) However, if there is no documentation or paper trail, proving that you worked the hours and are owed pay can be very difficult.

3) Bear in mind that it's against the law to not pay the proper taxes (e.g. withholding) on pay. So while the employer may face liability, you could face liability, too, if you did not pay all taxes you should have on your income. Obviously, you are legally obligated to pay all your taxes, so this threat of liability should not deter you from seeking any pay that is rightfully yours and also fulfiling your own lawful responsibilities...but at least be aware of the fact that you may face tax liability so you can plan for it.

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