Union Rights on Wage Assignment in California

The law requires an employer to withhold wages of a non-custodial parent and have them remitted to the custodial parent towards child support. This is aimed at making sure that the non-custodial parent does not fail to honor his or her obligations promptly. In other incidents, when a person has failed to honor their debt obligations, the lender may resort to using the court to have a debtor’s wages assigned in a manner that guarantees that all outstanding dues are paid. Someone may ask whether their labor union would have any say towards such remittances in California.

Under the Labor Code Private Attorneys Act, 2004 (Labor Code Sec 2699) and under the unfair competition Law (Business and professions code sec 17203), a union has limited capacity to sue on behalf of an aggrieved party on matters involving the person’s statutory right. The Union can thus not sue at a representative capacity to have a wage assignment fixed at a certain figure whether the union member is the custodial parent/lender seeking child support/ debt settlement or the non-custodial parent/ debtor who wants to have the figure set at a reasonable level.

Although a union member has a right to sue for issues related to wage assignment, the power to transfer that right to a third party is only given to a legislative body. This means a union member cannot transfer their right of cause of action to the union. A union should therefore obtain authorization from a legislative body to represent its employee(s) in any course of action. This allows the union to use its collective bargaining ability to influence the decision of the courts with respect to a wage assignment case. The union however cannot transfer its right to cause of action to a third party, who is an employee.