Wage theft violates state and federal labor laws. The California Department of Industrial Relations explains how most employers must pay a minimum hourly rate of $15.00.
The DIR.CA.gov website notes that employers must provide one paid 10-minute rest break for each four-hour work period. California considers the rest period “time worked” and employers may not subtract the time from workers’ hourly wages. Other circumstances in which employees do not perform any work may also require payment.
Payment for time spent on employer-controlled activities
The Society for Human Resource Management reported that a 2020 California Supreme Court decision requires paying employees for security checks. Employees forced to have their bags checked must receive payment for their time.
The court’s 2020 ruling offered a five-point test that employees could use to see if their time requires payment. An important part of the test is whether the worker remains under an employer’s control during the security check. Employees must then receive wages. Even without performing work, companies must pay employees for their mandatory security checks while on company property.
California company settles unpaid wage claim suit
As reported by 9to5Mac, 12,000 retail store employees filed a class-action lawsuit against their employer over unpaid wages. According to the complaint, managers required employees to wait while their bags underwent security searches. The searches occurred after the end of their work shifts.
Workers had to wait until the store completed their bag searches before they could leave. The wait took up to 45 minutes of unpaid time. The company agreed to settle the claim for more than $25 million in unpaid wages.
Workers required to remain on company property and under an employer’s control must receive payment for their time. Employees may file a claim for unpaid wages if not paid for time spent at a work location during an enforced activity.