Practice Area: Employment Law & Unpaid Wages
Case Status: Under Investigation
Berger Montague is investigating potential class and collective action lawsuits on behalf of California workers who have not received accurate pay stubs.
About the case
Under California Labor Code Section 226, employers’ wage statements to workers must include nine specific items:
- Gross wages earned – all earnings or income before taxes or any other deductions
- All deductions – an amount that is or may be deducted from something, especially from taxable income or tax to be paid
- Net wages – all earnings or income after taxes or any other deductions
- Total hours worked – should be included if you are an hourly employee or not-for-salary employee who is exempt from overtime
- Dates of the pay period – the inclusion dates of the period for which the employee is paid
- The employee’s name and the last four digits of their Social Security number (SSN)- can also use an employee ID number as an alternative. Full SSN should never be displayed. If more than 4 digits of the SSN are displayed, then that is a direct violation.
- The address of the employer’s main office – the address of the legal entity that is the employer. This may be different from your physical location, as companies may have multiple buildings/locations.
- Number of piece-rate units earned, if applicable – the total hours worked during the pay period
- Hourly rates for the pay period, if applicable, and the number of hours worked at each rate – if you are an employee who receives overtime, this will need to be a separate line from your regular rate
If your paycheck is missing any of these items, you may be able to file a class action lawsuit.
What are the requirements for my employer to provide my pay stub information in an itemized fashion?
Companies are required to provide the itemized wage information within your pay stub (typically part of your physical pay check, usually as a detachable part), or as a standalone document that outlines the nine requirements listed above. Note that many organizations provide electronic pay stubs through their online payroll/time management systems and may not distribute hard copies.
Although this article only covers California law, many other states have very similar requirements. If you are unsure if your state also has applicable laws, make sure you contact us.
Do I have to provide examples of how inaccurate or incomplete wage statements negatively affected me?
No. Employees used to have to show actual injury from receiving an inaccurate or incomplete wage statement, but that changed in 2013, when Senate Bill 1255 went into effect.
S.B. 1255 lowered the bar for workers to recover penalties for wage statement violations because it allowed for the presumption of injury if the employer either a) failed to provide a wage statement, or b) failed to include any of the key information listed above. The bill states:
“This bill would provide that an employee is deemed to suffer injury for purposes of the above-referenced penalty if the employer fails to provide a wage statement. The bill would also provide that an employee is deemed to suffer injury for that penalty if the employer fails to provide accurate and complete information, as specified, and the employee cannot promptly and easily determine from the wage statement alone the amount of the gross or net wages paid to the employee during the pay period or other specified information, the deductions the employer made from the gross wages to determine the net wages paid to the employee during the pay period, the name and address of the employer or legal entity that secured the services of the employer, and the name of the employee and only the last 4 digits of his or her social security number or an employee identification number other than a social security number, as specified.”
I have found my employer violated the Itemized Pay Stub Law. What compensation can I receive?
These California payroll laws are meant to prevent workers from being cheated on their pay. Labor Code 226(e) provides that if an employer knowingly and intentionally fails to provide this payroll stub data, an employee can recover damages for the initial pay period in which a violation occurred, as well as damages for violations in subsequent pay periods.
If your pay stub is missing your number of hours worked, hourly pay rate, or any other required information, contact Berger Montague. It’s possible that you may be able to start a class action.
Have class action itemized pay stub lawsuits been successful?
Yes. In October 2014, a California judge approved a $15 million settlement that resolved a class action accusing Verizon California Inc. of issuing inaccurate pay stubs that excluded crucial information that made it impossible for employees to determine whether they had been paid properly. The class action alleged Verizon California Inc. violated the California Labor Code and the code’s Private Attorney General Act by not listing the pay period beginning date, applicable hourly rates, and number of hours worked at each rate on the wage statements it issued to employees.
Do I have to pay to consult with an attorney?
We are happy to talk with you about your potential claims free of charge. If we decide to represent you in a lawsuit, we will enter into a written contingent fee agreement with you. A contingent fee agreement means we only get paid if we win, and that we will receive our fees from the amount paid by the Defendant in the case.
Please contact us to discuss the details of your case. You may: