What is the penalty for non-payment of a notice of employment breach of contract?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What is the penalty for non-payment of a notice of employment breach of contract?

If I send a demand for payment for a breach of contract concerning an employer against the employee. What are the payment details if I can prove that the agreement was to pay the employees $16 per hour and then the employee would render the services of labor for the company? If the employer fails after a few months to uphold his agreement of the $16 per hour and starts making unlawful deductions, does that constitute a breach of contract?.

Asked on April 17, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

1) The first thing is to ascertain if this "contract" actually is one--that is, if it created enforceable rights. Employment in this country is "employment at will"--that means, except as limited by a written contract, the employer may change the terms of employment (e.g. how much is paid) at will. To restrict the employer from changing the terms of employment, the alleged "contract" must be for a set or defined period of time, such as one-year contract with a fixed start date: if it is, then the employer may not alter the terms of employment during that period, but if it is not for a set or fixed time (or it was, but has expired), the employer may alter the terms of employment, including pay, at will.
2) If there is an enforceable contract (see above) and the employer violates it, you don't need to send a notice or demand for payment first (unless the contract's terms require it), though you may if you want; you could simply file a "breach of contract" lawsuit for the money owed you.
3) Deductions are not allowed under labor law (e.g. the Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA) unless the employee consented (agreed) to them or unless there is a court order, such as for wage garnishment, for them. Otherwise deductions would be illegal and you could either sue for them or file a complaint with the department of labor.

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.

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