Legal Question in Employment Law in California

My girlfriend worked for 6 months in her Aunts restaurant. The Aunt was having a very difficult time with the business and asked my girlfriend for help her with the business (my girlfriend having much experience in the restaurant business), the Aunt had told her they would be business partners and she would add her to the business as a partner.

My girlfriend agreed, drove to and back from the City ( paying tolls, parking and much gas) and put in 40-50 hour weeks for months, basically managing and running her restaurant, without getting paid. After a successful 3 months the Aunt finally started paying her from then on, but later on said that she did not want to be partners, and wanted her to be just a worker, basically devastating my girlfriend.

My girlfriend did the calculations for the time she worked for the first 3 months, and the amount the aunt owed her came down to well over $6,000 (based on San Francisco, CA minimum wage and what she was paying her later on) All they had was an oral agreement. What can my girlfriend do if her aunt does not want to pay her for those first 3 months? Can she force her to pay?


Asked on 4/10/22, 12:39 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Timothy McCormick Haapala, Thompson & Abern, LLP

Yes, absolutely. One option is to file a claim with the Dept. of Labor Standards Enforcement. That would collect unpaid wages and penalties. The other alternative is to sue for the back wages, and also for breach of contract and misrepresentation as to the partnership promise.

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Answered on 4/11/22, 8:58 am


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