While they may enjoy their job, most Californians work to receive a paycheck. Unfortunately, many employees are not being paid what they are owed.
How can you tell if you’re a victim of wage theft, and what can you do about it?
Wage theft comes in many forms
Wage theft affects thousands of California workers and can come in many forms.
- Non-payment of overtime is one of the most common forms of wage theft. According to the Department of Industrial Relations, employees who work over 8 hours a day, up to 12 hours, are to receive one and one-half times their regular pay. Anything over 12 hours is compensated by twice their regular pay.
- Some employers pay their workers less than the legal minimum wage, which is $16.90 in Los Angeles County.
- Misclassification of employees is another form of wage theft. Employers list their employees as independent contractors to avoid paying benefits, overtime and minimum wage.
- A company may not pay for interrupted breaks or ask staff to work before or after their shift without compensation.
While wage theft can occur in any industry, it is usually found in low-wage sectors that typically employ the more vulnerable population, such as immigrants, minorities, single mothers and other economically disadvantaged individuals. These people are less likely to know their rights under California’s labor laws.
If you or someone you know is a victim of wage theft in California, you can file a wage claim with the California Labor Commissioner. If you are unsure of the process, you might want to speak with someone who understands California’s labor laws. They can guide you through the process and ensure your rights are protected.