Wage theft is a crime, and it comes in many forms. If your wages are being unfairly withheld or you are not being paid the full amount you deserve, you are a victim and you have legal recourse. Unpaid wages are still all too common in California, but when you know your rights, you can better protect yourself against wage theft.
Common Wage Violations In California
When your employer isn’t paying you your full wages, they are committing a wage violation. While all unpaid wages are equally illegal, many types of wage violations are more complex than simply refusing to pay an employee altogether. The following are some of the most common wage violations that occur in California.
- Failure to pay owed wages in a timely manner
- Refusal to pay overtime wages
- Paying salaried or hourly workers less than the current state or local minimum wage, whichever is higher
- Paying public works crews a lower wage than the prevailing wage (even if it is higher than the current minimum wage)
- Failure to credit employees for all hours worked
- Failure to pay employees for mandated rest breaks during the workday
What You Can Do About Unpaid Wages
If you are owed unpaid wages, you can collect not only the wages themselves, but also penalty payments from the company for delaying in paying you the full amount you deserve. You simply have to take action. The very first thing you should do about unpaid wages is to get the help of an employment attorney to draft a complaint against your employer. Then you should file a formal wage claim with the Labor Commissioner’s Office. You may also want to report a labor law violation or even a retaliation complaint, depending on the circumstances of your case.
How A California Employment Lawyer Can Help
While some wage violations may be accidental oversights, unpaid wages often indicate employer abuse of employees they believe to be uninformed about the law or otherwise vulnerable. Many perpetrators of wage theft will attempt to intimidate employees into silence. When you know your rights and have a more powerful advocate on your side, however, you are much more likely to recover your full unpaid wages and additional penalty payments. A California employment lawyer understands the system and can give your wage claim a better chance of being settled quickly and successfully. Come talk to the attorneys at Wakeford and Gelini today to find out how we may be able to fight for your wages on your behalf.