Updated: Dec 14, 2022
How To Assert Your Rights Against Wage Theft In California Workplaces
California's wage theft protection laws prevent the exploitation of employees. But unfortunately, some employers will do everything they can to reduce business costs—sometimes undermining their employee's rights.
That said, let's look at what you can learn about wage theft in California.
How Do I Know I'm Experiencing Wage Theft?
Employers steal wages in a variety of ways. The most typical of which are:
Misclassification - An employer may misclassify personnel as independent contractors to avoid paying payroll taxes, workers' compensation or health insurance premiums, or any supplies needed to carry out their duties.
Getting Paid Less Than Minimum Wage - Setting a minimum wage protects you and other workers from exploitation. As a result, it is required by law that employers pay the minimum wage.
Denial Of Paid Sick Leave - In some circumstances, workers may be eligible for paid sick days. However, it constitutes wage theft when an employer declines to grant a qualified worker compensated sick leave.
Unlawful Withdrawals - Only a few situations permit an employer to take money directly from a worker's paycheck. For instance, they could need your written consent. For example, if an employer takes money outright from your paycheck without your permission or a valid reason, that is considered wage theft.
Unwillingness to Pay Final Wages - Employers occasionally take money out of your most recent paycheck. In specific situations, it's possible that you neglected to return any item from the workplace to the employer. However, there are several instances where employers merely withhold the final salary without offering a sufficient explanation.
Breaching Employment Contract - Some employment contracts may indicate pay rates, commissions, or bonuses. If your employer fails to pay these rates, your employment contract and wage theft can be violated. Contact a prescreened California wage theft attorney if you have more questions regarding alleged violations of employment contracts in California.
How To Protect Your Wages In California?
Don't allow your employer to exploit you! Here are a few ways to ensure you're protected from wage theft in California:
Read your contract. Check for minimum wage, benefits, and policies regarding your pay. Contracts are crucial for a lot of unpaid wage claims in California.
Learn your rights. Know penalties, the reporting process, and possible evidence that can be used in filing employment claims. This will protect you from possible underhanded methods of stealing wages.
Read your employment/company handbook. Know what you can do about possible internal issues. How do you report unpaid wages? How do you contact HR? What is the process of internally resolving these issues? This will help you navigate through possible problems in the future.
That said, if you run into problems, you should contact one of our prescreened Los Angeles wage and hour lawyers ASAP. An employment attorney in Los Angeles knows their way around the law and can protect you from possibly getting confused or manipulated into unfair internal arrangements.
What Can You Do About Wage Theft?
Unfortunately, even with careful preventative measures, employers can still find a way to deny you your wage. However, California Employment Laws allow employees to assert their rights in these situations, allowing you to file claims against illegal discrimination, wrongful termination, or unpaid wages in California.
Employees have several options when it comes to addressing California employment issues. So, even if you couldn't avoid wage theft, you still have the option to report your employer or file claims against them.
Contact one of our prescreened California unpaid wage lawyers to get started if you have a potential claim. Our California employment lawyers are experienced in handling labor law claims such as discrimination, retaliation, wrongful termination, and wage and hour claims.
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