What You Need to Know When Defending Wage Claims
Hello California Business Owner,
Today we are going to talk about something you hopefully never have to do, but you definitely want to be prepared for just in case!
That is…Defending Your Business Against an Employee Wage Claim.
If you are around long enough, your businesses will probably face various wage claims at some point, filed by previous or current employees.
Because of this, the best thing for you to do as an employer is to start to gather useful information about defending wage claims so you can be prepared if it happens. It’s a stressful thing to be involved in, so the more prepared you are the better you will feel if it does happen.
Preparation is Key! Why? Because if you are being accused of not paying someone for their hours worked, whoever has the most and credible evidence between you and the accuser is going to have a huge advantage.
Imagine you are asked to provide the employees timesheet and payroll records and you can’t. Either because you don’t have them anymore or you never kept them in the first place. Trust us when we say this. This does not look good for you.
How do you avoid this situation? Well you have heard a million times from us I know, but preparation before-hand is really the best way to reduce your risk. If you have an effective game-plan before a problem arises, the chances of a successful law suit against you is significantly reduced.
In short, defending wage claims starts by evaluating your overall processes and policies to check if they abide by current and updated federal or state laws. If you don’t have an existing policies you will want to start with a minor investment in an Employee Handbook.
You should perform regular audits of your policies as well as review employee job functions and payroll processing. You should also be aware for updates in California law or changes released or passed and see if all your policies are still applicable despite the new rules being present. If not, you may need to revise part, or even the whole policies followed in your company just to accommodate these changes.
The key is to have policies in the first place!
Below are some of the important things to remember about the documents or records you need to maintain:
1. Make Sure You Keep Accurate Employee Records –
When a lawsuit is filed by an employee, it is important to your defense to secure all records pertaining to that employee. Make sure you have the classification of each employee (full time, part time, independent contractor etc..). Tracking employees in this way can take up much of your time if your records are maintained in paper files. Electronic employment histories are much better since it is easy to record and retrieve information such as the date hired, date of leaves, promotions, as well as termination dates which is very important in defending wage claims. Even if you just keep it in spreadsheets we recommend you keep an electronic record of each employee. It’s important to keep these up to date and consistent.
2. Accurately Maintain Pay Records –
You should also maintain pay records for future reference. It is important to check weekly employee hours to see to it that applicable premiums are applied correctly. If an employee is filing a wage claim against you, believe me you will have a lot more credible defense if they see that you have made the effort to keep records of your pay records for employees. Many wage claims are based on not being paid for hours worked so its important to show when your employee was paid and how much.
3. Employee Data Should Be Secured –
You may outsource your timekeeping process in order to lighten the burden or cost on your company. If you choose to do that this is fine but be sure before entering into an agreement, you check how these third party companies store their data. Some companies store data in which you cannot quickly retrieve it when you need it. If you need this information as evidence you will want to be able to retrieve it quickly. You will also want to know if they are keeping this data safe and secure. The data could very well be more secure then if you were responsible for it but you still want to check and make sure they have data security policies in place.
Since law suits are inevitable, prevention is always the best cure. Defending wage claims means being ready for them before they even come to your door.
If you are in the unfortunate position of defending against a wage claim and not having been prepared with the records and information described in this article you need not panic. You will probably have a more difficult case but a good firm will give you a good chance at a favorable outcome. Contact attorneys who specialize in defending California Employers.
Contact us today if you need an attorney who specializes in Defending California Business Owners against Wage Claims!
(323) 289-2260 ext:103