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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Posts
    1

    Default Employer is Always Late with Paychecks

    My question involves labor and employment law for the state of: California.
    I work for a dentist who is continually late giving employees our paychecks, and occasionally the checks bounce. Now he is almost a month in arrears and owes us two checks. He told me last week that he has no money and if we want a job that pays we should look for a new job. I collected $45,000 last month for the business, so I know there is money. He just chooses to spend it elsewhere. I am looking for a job, but being 60 years old makes it hard to find someone to hire me. I want to report him to the department of labor, but I know if I do, he will black ball me with the other dentists in town. What other options do I have?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    279

    Default Re: Employer Always Late with Paychecks

    Talk to CA-DLSE. Document events. A bounced check is legally very different from a late check. A late check is a violation of CA-DLSE rules, and CA-DLSE has extreme latitude in how/if they handle it. Bouncing a check, any check, gets into criminal law territory. You can talk to legal aid.

    Having said all that, some times the best solution to bad employer is to find a good employer. Some fights have no winners, just losers. Your best course of action might be to just find another job before burning all bridges with this employer. CA-DLSE is at best going to fine the employer and they might not even do that. Bouncing checks is a very stupid thing for the employer to do. It is legally much safer just to pay late. But a district attorney is not likely to get very excited over a few bounced checks that were already made good. Small claims court can likely get you NSF charges, plus possible small damages.

    One other thing. I keep hearing about "black balling" someone but despite the many times people talk about, it seems to be a lot like a unicorn or big foot, something no one actual has seen. At best the employer can give bad references to anyone who calls him, and at the end of the day, that is just his/her opinion. Not nothing, but far from everything. I have hired employees who got bad references from one prior employer and the black ball police did not kick in my door. No ninja assassins hiding in my closet. Every HR department I have talked to, and I worked for a Fortune 500 company for a while, considered black balls to be an urban myth. Still, it seems to be a very strong faith-based urban myth, and it is not my issue telling people to not believe in black balls or unicorns or big feet. Good luck with that.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    23,869

    Default Re: Employer Always Late with Paychecks

    Bad references can and do happen. The "black ball data base" is a myth.

    Signed,

    A close to 40 year HR professional

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Posts
    1,135

    Default Re: Employer Always Late with Paychecks

    Quote Quoting cbg
    View Post
    Bad references can and do happen. The "black ball data base" is a myth.

    Signed,

    A close to 40 year HR professional
    And I have worked in the employment and unemployment fields, and believe me, there's no such thing as a "black ball me to other employers" threat that I've seen, either.
    If you are in a small town, a small area, there will be general knowledge of how this person does business and how he treats his help among the other professionals in the same field. They do get together and they do talk, but it's surprising how generally on the mark they can be about the character and quality of another person in the same business.

    And if you are in a large place, they won't know enough other professionals well enough to get out the word to all of them, and won't find much of a sympathetic ear. What are they going to say, this jerk complained and quit me because I didn't pay her? If not, if they said something like, "She's no good, I had to fire her because she was such a bad employee, couldn't do the work, etc." that would be pretty dumb. They could end up spending some of that money they don't have to pay you on a lawsuit.

    That said, I have seen some absolutely STUPID loyalty from office staff for various kinds of medical professionals. I saw one woman who hadn't been paid in over a year! If you quit the job on the basis of your paycheck bouncing, you'd likely be able to get unemployment insurance if the jerk has been paying it in as he is supposed to or you aren't a 1099. If he was supposed to and he didn't, they'll come after him from that agency, too. Because having your paycheck bounce more than one or two really rare occasions is considered a pretty valid reason to quit a job.

    I agree wholeheartedly that you need to get away from this employer and find another one, very quickly, regardless of whether he makes up the pay or not. He's told you to do it. You cannot fix a bad situation by any complaining or reporting that you do.

    By the way, if you call in to DSLE about late checks, or not getting paid, your employer will not be told by them who complained. If he is stiffing more than one of you, he won't know which one it is.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    2,802

    Default Re: Employer Always Late with Paychecks

    Even though Dentists seem to be a pretty tight group, especially in smaller cities or towns, that actually guarantees that he isn't going to be trying to blackball you. Do you really think he wants the word out among the other dentists that he doesn't pay on time or writes hot checks?

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