As an employee, you work hard to earn your rightful wages. You are entitled to fair compensation for the hours worked or the tasks completed. Therefore, if you find that your employer has cheated you out of your compensation due to wage theft, you may wish to determine what steps could help you rectify these wrongful actions.
There are several different ways in which you and other workers could wrongfully lose out on pay. Awareness regarding types of illegal actions can help you recognize when employers fail to comply with wage laws and regulations.
Lack of payment
The most obvious form of wage theft falls under a refusal to pay for services. You may have performed a service for an individual or company with the agreement of receiving compensation only to have paychecks bounce or without otherwise gaining any form of payment. In such cases, taking legal action may be necessary in order to gain the earned payment.
Deducting costs from worker pay
Many professions require that individuals wear a uniform while on the job. Because uniforms requirements pertain to operational procedures, employers should provide those uniforms. If employers make workers pay for uniforms, that action could fall under wage theft. Deducting other operational costs, such as for broken dishes in restaurants, could also illegally affect a worker's wage.
Improper compensation for tipped workers
Service industry jobs often allow for workers to receive tips, and as a result, those employees work for a lower minimum wage and the tips work to make up the difference. However, if workers do not receive adequate tips, their hourly wages should increase in order to meet minimum wage standards. Tipped workers' wages could also fall below minimum wage if they must split their tips among non-tipped workers.
Working off the clock
While working for an hourly wage, you likely clock in and out of work in order to keep track of your service hours. In some cases, employers may force workers to stay after hours in order to carry out additional duties. If these extra responsibilities take place off the clock and you do not gain the correct compensation, that action falls under wage theft. Similarly, lack of overtime pay is also improper compensation.
Should you take action?
If you believe that your employer has failed to comply with wage-and-hour laws through any of these actions or numerous other potential violations, you may wish to consider legal action. An experienced California attorney could help you understand your employee rights and options for seeking back pay for unpaid wages.