What can I do if I haven’t been getting paid my agreed upon pay rate?

My employer agreed to give me a pay rate of $15 an hour. However, for more than a month he has been paying $13 a hour. Every time I get a check he says that he will fix it the next time but he doesn’t. If I have proof, a text message, that he said he was going to pay me $15 a hour from the beginning, does he have to pay me back for all the other checks he didn’t pay me in the agreed start pay rate?

Asked on July 1, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The employer could reduce your pay to $13/hour at any time, unless you have an actual written employment contract guarantying the higher rate, but such change is only effective prospectively--that is, from when the change is announced to you forward. If the employer has not told you that your rate is $13/hour, not $15/hour, they have to pay you at $15/hour. If the employer does not, you could sue him for the back pay you are owed (e.g. the other $2/hour, for all the hours worked to date for which you were not paid the proper rate), such as in small claims court (where you should act as your own attorney, or "pro se," to save legal costs).


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.