Nishiki v. Danko Meredith, APCAnnotate this Case
When an employee resigns without notice, California law requires the employer to pay all wages within 72 hours (Lab. Code 202(a)1). If the employer willfully fails to do so, the employee’s wages continue as a penalty from that due date until the wages are paid, for up to 30 days. Nishiki resigned by sending an email to the partners in the law firm where she worked at 6:38 p.m. on Friday, November 14, noting that her unused vacation time “needs to be paid within 72 hours.” The firm mailed her a handwritten check on November 18: the amount in numerals was “2,880.31,” the correct amount, but it was spelled out as “Two thousand eight hundred and 31/100.” On November 26, Nishiki sent an email stating she had been unable to deposit the check because of the inconsistency and asserting she was entitled to waiting time penalties. A corrected check was mailed on December 5. Nishiki filed a complaint with the California Labor Commissioner seeking vacation wages, rest period premiums, and waiting time penalties. She prevailed on her claim for waiting time penalties and was awarded $4,250. The superior court affirmed and awarded Nishiki $86,160 in attorney fees. The court of appeal reduced the award of waiting time penalties but otherwise affirmed. Nishiki’s daily wage was $250. The proper waiting time penalty for nine days was, therefore, $2,250.