California  |  Employment Law

Legal Question

Asked on: 9/13/13, 3:34 am

My mom passed away in April of this year right as she was retiring. She was the director of a privately owned preschool. Can I sue her employer for unpaid wages? Here's some background: The owners are very cruel and greedy people. My mom worked there for 18 years and took off maybe 10 days a year at most and worked 10-12 hour days if not more. The owners made the work environment very hostile, continually accusing my mom of things that they would later resolve and see she had nothing to do with it. They would text and call her sometimes as early at 5am on weekends and holidays. The made it impossible for her to ever take time off and would give her nonsense when she had a doctors appointment. They said that they don't keep track of my moms "vacation" because she's exempt and is paid for 40 hours a week if she works it or not. When she had to go on disability I inquired and her boss said that salary employees don't actually accrue vacation time they are "free to come and go as they please" which was NOT true! After he cancer diagnosis they continued to call about work related things. I'm not a "sue everyone" type of person but I find it VERY hard to believe that after 18 years, taking virtually no time off and working an excess of 50 hours a week that she wouldn't be owed something. They even wrote her a letter because I had called to ask about this. Their letter actually said something like "do you know how many hours of vacation you may have because we'd like to work something out." I apologize for the longwinded question I'm just very angry with them. My mom sacrificed time with her family, holidays, her health and more for owners who took vacation 2-3 weeks a month but were awful when employees wanted to go to a function at their child's school. They got paid for 40 hours per week and never worked it once. Is there anything I can do?

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