Postdated Paychecks: What is the CA Law?

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Latest post 04-21-2006 12:58 PM by ccccourts. 13 replies.
  • 04-17-2006 2:52 PM

    Postdated Paychecks: What is the CA Law?

    I as well as other employees in my department received a post dated (by one day)paycheck (calculated to the day assuming that I would be working the next day) the day before the usual payday and was told by my manager not to cash it until the next day. My employer apparently let one half of the company have Good Friday off without offering the other half consisting of my department the day off and it is my guess as well as my husband's that they gave that staff the day off with pay.

    I went home, told my husband about it and since he used to be a Union Shop Steward he immediately became perturbed citing that such a practice is illegal and that I could in fact cash my post dated paycheck. He went into detail mentioning a company he worked for that did the same thing to him and threatened to fire him for cashing it. Since he knew of the laws about it then (this was over 10 years ago) he told them they were wrong and that it is illegal to give a postdated paycheck to employees in the first place.

    I went to the bank and the bank cashed my post dated paycheck without mentioning the post date but it was clear the teller noticed the date since she passed her pen over it.

    What I would like to know is what the California law as of 2006 says about post dated paychecks and the cashing of them since I cannot find any links to it online.

    Thanks in advance for your reply!
  • 04-18-2006 10:03 AM In reply to

    Feedback [*=*] re: Postdated Paychecks: What is the CA Law?

    I work for the largest banking institution in the world, and prior to this company going paperless and having paystubs online and checks direct deposited, we would receive our checks 4 days before our actual paydates (1st & 15th).

    It was up to the managers if they wanted to distribute the checks early to their departments, of course on the understanding that employees would wait for "pay day".

    I'm happy to state that our employees could be trusted not to early cash them. If you wait till after 2pm the day before the date on the check it won't go thru till your actual pay day.
  • 04-18-2006 5:54 PM In reply to

    Disagree [)*(] You got your check early

    They were not required to pay you until Fri. They passed out the checks on Thursday. That is hardly the same as postdating them until AFTER they were due to be paid, which I suspect is what your husband was talking about.

    I would imagine they were handed out early becuasae a lot of people scheduled Fri as a day off. Asking you to wait until payday did not damage you in any way.
  • 04-19-2006 2:49 AM In reply to

    re: Postdated Paychecks: What is the CA Law?

    It's unlawfull to postdate a check to AFTER the scheduled paydate.

    It is not unlawfull to date them for the paydate but hand them out early and tell employees not to cash them untill the due date.

    Many companies - especially big ones - do not fund their payroll account untill payday. A check deposited early can EASILY bounce.

    The bank that cashed it for you could have then charged you their returned check fee. Your company could also have required you to repay them for the bounce fee. They could also have fired you for doing something you were specifically told not to do.

    In fact, they still can if the accounting department notices it.

    Richard
  • 04-19-2006 12:08 PM In reply to

    re: Constructive ReceiptPostdated Paychecks: What is the CA Law?

    Still no answer to my earlier question, I need to know the California law complete with a link or at least a reference to it or the book that it is in.

    According to some others whom I have posed this question, receipt of a paycheck whether or not it is post dated for the next day or two constitutes 'constructive receipt' with the right of the bearer to cash it.

    There is all sorts of shenanigans that occur in my place of work that are designed to take advantage of employees who are unaware of certain 'basics' and which actually violate ethics that would be upheld if the company were unionized. A mostly female company, this employer exercises as much advantage as possible, brags about it's multimillion dollar earnings and has failed to give any of us a raise in over 2 years and even if we ask, we are refused. I guess since customer service people really 'don't matter' since they are so easily found and disposable, this employer uses that to their maximum disgraceful advantage.

    As for my being penalized or fired from my work, the bookkeeper gave me a cursory yet angry glance the next day and as of today, 5 days later there hasn't been a peep out of my employer about penalizing me, the receiver of my paycheck for rightfully cashing it upon receipt. Checks are cashable whether or not they are post dated and accounting departments should mind their money. To tell employees not to cash a check that has been given them and which has been calculated to assume hourly pay of work that is also variable in fact may 'short' those employees who work a small amount overtime too.

    To be sure, I have been trying to relocate myself to other employment, however, since our country and most businesses are economically 'depressed' the process is taking longer than I would like.
  • 04-19-2006 12:47 PM In reply to

    re: Constructive ReceiptPostdated Paychecks: What is the CA Law?

    "A mostly female company, ...."

    What does this have to do with it??

    "... and has failed to give any of us a raise in over 2 years and even if we ask, we are refused."

    They never have to give you a raise, I'm afraid. So long as you're paid minimum wage, it's legal.

    Contact the CA labor department to see what the law is on pay frequency; I suspect you will discover that the employer is doing nothing wrong.

  • 04-19-2006 1:31 PM In reply to

    re: Constructive ReceiptPostdated Paychecks: What is the CA Law?

    Go to the library and ask them to show you how to use the California Code.
  • 04-19-2006 2:08 PM In reply to

    Angry [:@] re: Constructive ReceiptPostdated Paychecks: What is the CA Law?

    I guess I'm not seeing the issue here.

    They gave you your check EARLY, but just asked you to please not cash it until you were supposed to. They paid you on the check for the amount earned through the payday, so that's correct.

    So far, they haven't "penalized" you.

    So what's the issue? You want some sort of law backing up that what you did was right?

    Well it wasn't. Your company was trying to make sure that you had your check on your actual payday.

    Nothing more, unless you left something out of your story.

    By the way, you do know that barring some sort of employment contract, they can just up and fire you for pretty much any reason, at any time, right? Maybe the bookkeeper's stares are trying to tell you something. Often people that don't play nice in the sandbox are "invited to leave."

    -S
  • 04-19-2006 2:39 PM In reply to

    Disagree [)*(] Allowed unless it's forbidden

    You won't find a law that says "An employer can give out a postdated paycheck ahead of the pay date." because the law doesn't work that way.

    The basic principle of law is that anyone can do anything they want UNLESS there is a law that specifically says they can't. The wage order for customer service workers is 8 CCR 11040 (Which you can easily Google) and nowhere in that order does it prohibit that. Since it's not prohibited, it's legal.

    "According to some others whom I have posed this question, receipt of a paycheck whether or not it is post dated for the next day or two constitutes 'constructive receipt' with the right of the bearer to cash it."

    It's perfectly 'legal' for you to have deposited or cashed the check once they gave it to you. However, the financial risk of doing so is on you.

    If they had in fact not funded their payroll account until the paydate (and they are under no obligation to do so) then when your bank submitted it to their bank for collection, it would have bounced. Your bank would have then charged you bounce fees.

    If you didn't deposit it, but just cashed it at a bank where you don't have an account for them to charge, they'd have set a collector on you for their fees. Had you written checks against that money, or had ATM transactions go through because the bank had allowed you access to the money, those would also have cost you fees.

    Additionally, of course, you were told by your boss not to cash it and you did. Regardless of whether it was legal of you to do so or not, they still could choose to fire you for that. The fact that it's been five days doesn't mean that it's a closed issue. My company can't authorize the purchase of a paperclip in five days, let alone process a firing.

    Finally, next time pay-day falls on a day when many people are off, the company may just say "Sorry, everyone, you'll have to come in on your day off to pick up your paychecks. We can't give them to you the day before like we used to because Jane Doe over in customer service cashed hers early last time, so we can no longer trust people not to." That will make you very popular with your co-workers.

    Richard
  • 04-20-2006 11:14 AM In reply to

    re: Constructive ReceiptPostdated Paychecks: What is the CA Law?

    My husband who used to be a Union Shop Steward was the one who argued with me that since I received my paycheck early by one day that it constitutes 'constructive receipt' and that it is permissible to cash it as I did along with his statement that postdating of a paycheck does not prohibit the employee from cashing it once they receive it. He also argued that he recalled this being an issue with respect to 'money laundering' schemes by companies in the past.

    Since neither California law or banking law is not readily available by Internet I am going to have to find out via the local law library and speak with a banker next time I go. I am also going to call the local Union Hall and find out what they say since it has been over 10 years since he was a shop steward.

    PS: As for employers choosing to 'fire' people for 'any reason' that is incorrect. There must be a valid and legal reason for firing an employee, besides, if I were fired from my job it wouldn't really matter that much at this point since I am so work injured and chronically in pain due to ergonomics. In me they have a real 'cash cow' too since I earn anywhere from $80 to $250 per hour in sales add ons to the below cost of living wages for my geographic area so they are pretty happy with the deal even though unbeknownst to them I have been trying desperately to find gainful employment and survival income on the side through odd jobs on my time off. I have not reported the excruciating pain I am in on a daily basis for the simple fact that it would be more trouble than it is worth for me to mess around with Dr.'s and more paperwork. Besides, no matter what they do to adjust the ergonomics of my desk, it is not natural at all for a human being to sit at a desk for 7 hours per day as I do so the pain will not disappear until I finally quit what I am doing. If I keel over on the job, well then so be it.
  • 04-20-2006 12:43 PM In reply to

    Warning [=*#] Wow - you are wrong about so many things!

    Where to start??

    Being given your paycheck early has nothing to do with money laundering. Your husband is completely out to lunch on this one. With all due respect, being a union steward is not exactly the same as going to law school.

    California law about banking and everything else is easily available on the internet. Try www.caleginfo.ca.gov. Or go the CA Dept of labor website. Or the website for the CA agency that regulates banking.

    "As for employers choosing to 'fire' people for 'any reason' that is incorrect. There must be a valid and legal reason for firing an employee, "

    Absolutely 100% wrong. I can fire you for any reason not prohibited by law UNLESS you have a valid contract that specifies otherwise. So unless you work for a union which limits my rights to fire you I can fire you becuase you don;t support the same baseball team that I do.
  • 04-20-2006 1:06 PM In reply to

    Disagree [)*(] You are totally missing the point.

    No-one is disputing that it was 'legal' for you to cash the check once you got it.

    The point is though that :-
    a) It could have cost you money in fees etc had it bounced - which it could have.
    b) Your company CAN fire you for doing something you were specifically told not to do.

    "As for employers choosing to 'fire' people for 'any reason' that is incorrect. There must be a valid and legal reason for firing an employee..."

    Totally wrong.

    In CA an employer can fire an employee for any reason not specifically prohibited by law. Now, when your husband was a Union Steward, his workplace was no doubt governed by a Union contract that required the employer to have a reason for firing someone - but that's a contract issue, not a labor law issue. Absent a contract, you are an 'at will' employee, and they can fire you for no reason at all.

    "if I were fired from my job it wouldn't really matter that much"

    Then don't worry about it.

    Richard
  • 04-21-2006 12:58 PM In reply to

    re: You are totally missing the point.

    Thanks for 'getting it' and thank you to all who responded to my query.

    Since I showed my husband this message thread he now knows that 'things have changed' from the days when contractors would be handed their post dated checks and would literally 'scramble' to get them cashed before the money in the account would be gone and some would be left unpaid as a result.

    To the poster who said that perhaps I am 'leaving something out' well, yes, I did not mention that one day I was asked by one of the managers to be more precise about my clocking in and logging on to answer the phones. Since I am the type of employee who makes a point of arriving early I was consistently clocking in about 10 to 15 minutes early, starting the computer (which takes awhile to start up and load the software)and while waiting, making a hot mug beverage in the company lunch room. Apparently that elapsed time revealed a discrepancy to the accounting department between the time clocked in and the time I logged onto the phones and they 'called' it to the attention of the manager. Well, it pissed me off considering the thousands of dollars I earn for them as one of the top 10% reps there. Now, when I show up early, I do not clock in immediately, instead, on my time I start the damn computer (off the clock) because it takes so long to load up, make my beverage and then clock in and within seconds I am 'on the phones.' Early clock in is OK as long as I am within a minute or so of logging on but considering the huge amount of time that can occur waiting for sales calls sometimes and the high $ earnings performed for this company and the fact that the company has failed to fix their computer problems (it's been over 6 months for the 'problems' with the software to be resolved, a situation that in other similar companies is normally done within a few days to a few weeks) and which hampers customer service by inconveniencing customers who are 'stuck' waiting for us to process their orders is an annoying thing to put up with for everyone. The department feels like 'the *** child' of the company since it consists of one side that is strictly outside sales and bookkeeping and our side, which answers the phones for new, returning and Internet customers. One side of the building is salaried and not required to 'clock in' with time cards and to make matters worse, nobody in my department is willing to make a group appeal for changes in salary, benefits and the above issues because they are afraid to since the employment in our area is so limited at this point in time. To be sure, many of us take days off periodically so we can look for other work but really, it is a shame and saddening that most of us are in such a tight 'spot' and slighted by the 'other half' of the company.
  • 05-01-2006 6:20 PM In reply to

    • WLaw
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on 06-07-2003
    • Posts 44

    Warning [=*#] I advise ....some caution

    I know from direct expereience that many things get said and believed at the Union Local office environment, and they often have no more legal authority in the real world than something said on tv.

    I'm not saying your husband is wrong, but you would be well advised to verify the things you say and believe. Employment Laws are complex, when in doubt talk to the state agency that has jurisdiction over the issue.

    It would be a bad day to be terminated for standing up for your legal rights if you have none.
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