Waiting Time Penalties for Late Payment of Final Check, and Attorneys’ Fees on Appeal

Waiting Time Penalties for Late Payment of Final Check, and Attorneys’ Fees on Appeal

By Robert L. Rediger, Esq.

On August 1, 2018, the court of appeal in Nishiki v. Danko Meredith, APC reduced an employee’s Labor Commissioner award for waiting time penalties to $2,250, but awarded an additional amount of $86,160 for attorney fees against the employer. The former employee had filed a complaint with the California Labor Commissioner seeking unpaid vacation, rest period premiums, and waiting time penalties. She prevailed only on her claim for waiting time penalties because she received her final paycheck late, and was awarded $4,250. The employer appealed the award to the superior court where the judge reduced the award for waiting time penalties to $2,250, but awarded an additional amount of $86,160 as attorney fees against the employer.

The Nishiki case serves as a reminder to employers to pay all wages owed to an employee in a timely manner when the employment relationship is severed, and as a warning to employers considering an appeal of an award of the Labor Commissioner, where the employee becomes eligible for an award of “costs and reasonable attorney’s fees” if the court awards him or her “an amount greater than zero.”