No one should have to work hard all day and then not get paid their full compensation. Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence in America, with millions of dollars stolen from workers every year. If you think that your employer in California is not paying you as they should, there are steps that you can take to get the money that is rightfully yours and to prevent the same phenomenon from happening to other hardworking employees.
Understanding wage theft in California
Wage theft covers a wide range of violations of federal and state employment law. This includes things like:
- Not paying the minimum wage
- Paying a rate lower than what you agreed upon in your employment contract
- Not paying overtime
- Making illegal deductions from paychecks, such as for meals or uniforms
- Requiring employees to work off the clock
- Misclassifying employees as independent contractors to avoid paying benefits and taxes
What to do
If you suspect that your employer is stealing your wages before spooking them or making them suspicious, take your time to document everything. You need sufficient incontrovertible evidence to build your case and improve your chances of winning. This can include pay stubs, timesheets, emails and other written correspondence. Additionally, it can also help to talk to your co-workers so that you can build a collective case against your employer.
If you are unable to come to a resolution with your employer after talking to them directly or consulting with human resources, there are several options available. You could file a complaint with the Department of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) or your local district attorney’s office. Alternatively, you have the option of filing a lawsuit on your own in civil court. This is often an expensive and time-consuming venture but may be necessary if the employer won’t cooperate.
Whether you are working in the public or private sector, you have rights that your employer must respect. If you think your employer is not paying you or treating you fairly, consider taking your time to know what they are so as to take the proper steps to protect yourself and other workers.