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Everything You Need To Know About Wage Theft In California

Updated: Oct 29

What To Do About Wage Theft In Los Angeles, California

Employees in California are protected from exploitation and discrimination. Hence, they have the right to file employment claims for wage theft and get compensation for it.


Let's talk about wage theft, how it may apply to you, and what can be done about it:


What Is Considered Wage Theft In California?

Employers commit wage theft in various ways. The most common of which include:


Misclassification By Employers

Misclassification can happen when an employer wrongly classifies employees as independent contractors to avoid covering payroll taxes, workers' compensation or health insurance, or any materials required to carry out their activities. For example, businesses may misclassify hourly workers as salaried managers to avoid paying overtime.


Receiving Pay Below Minimum Wage

The minimum wage protects you and other workers from being exploited. Thus, employers have a legal responsibility to pay the minimum wage. Refusal to pay the minimum wage violates the law and is considered wage theft.

Refusal to Grant Paid Leave

Employees may qualify for a paid sick time in certain situations. However, when an employer refuses to give a qualified employee paid sick leave, this is an instance of wage theft.

Many employees in California now have paid sick leave because of recent revisions in the state's employment regulations. As a result, wage theft may include failing to receive promised vacation or sick time payments. If unsure if your circumstance is eligible, speak with a prescreened California wage theft attorney.


Unlawful Paycheck Withdrawals


When it comes to wage fraud, some businesses are bold. Wage theft may occur if an employer deducts money from your paycheck directly without your consent or a reasonable justification. Unfortunately, only a few circumstances allow an employer to deduct money straight from a paycheck. For instance, they can require written authorization from you.


In the food and service industries, improper deductions are another frequent occurrence. Sometimes, employers will accept tips from their staff.


If you notice unlawful deductions, consult with one of our prescreened California unpaid wage lawyers ASAP.

Refusal To Pay Final Wages

Sometimes, employers will deduct money from your last paycheck. It's possible that you failed to give the employer back any property from the workplace in specific circumstances. There are, however, many situations where companies merely withhold the final salary without providing a valid justification.


It can be wage theft if your employer withholds all or part of your paycheck after you lose your job. Therefore, we highly advise contacting prescreened Los Angeles wage and hour lawyers if you have any inquiries regarding obtaining final wages or benefits.


Employment Contract Violation

Some employment contracts may spell out pay rates, commissions, or bonuses. It may be a breach of your employment contract and wage theft if your employer fails to pay these rates. If you have any additional inquiries about California employment contract violations, contact our prescreened California employment lawyers.


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How Is Wage Theft In California Different From Other Wage And Hour Claims?


Besides a minimum wage and pay period, California law does not stipulate the wage rates firms must offer, unlike overtime compensation.

Employees have additional protection thanks to the wage theft prevention notification mandated by the Wage Theft Prevention Act. Employees must receive written notice from their employer outlining their wage policies in a language they can comprehend.

Once you know your hourly rate, you can keep track of your wage hours and contrast them with the ones that appear on your paycheck.


Your wage rates, including overtime, piece rates, and multiple hourly rates, should be listed in your notice. You can be a victim of wage theft if your records and the amount you receive don't match.


What Are The Penalties for Wage Theft In California?

Employers that defraud one or more employees for more than $950, or two or more employees for more than $2,350 over a continuous 12-month period may be charged with a crime.

Additionally, the statute includes safeguards for both employees and independent contractors. As a result, hiring companies would be subject to the same penalties as wages for wage fraud involving independent contractors.

Grand theft is penalized as a felony (up to five years in prison) or a misdemeanor (up to 3 years in jail). In addition to penalties, fines are frequently levied. The new law permits restitution for wages, tips, or other payments that are the subject of an investigation.

However, it should be highlighted that civil action can still be the most effective method for recouping all losses. Therefore, it's crucial to speak with California unpaid wage lawyers about your legal alternatives if your employer is detained for wage fraud.


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