Making a living in California is difficult, especially if you work for minimum wage. Unfortunately, some employers are making it even harder for workers like you by committing wage theft. According to recent statistics about wage theft, low-wage employees in California lose 22 percent of their earnings a year because of minimum wage violations. That comes out to roughly $64 a week per worker.
If you are losing out on this type of money, you may struggle to buy groceries or build up your savings. But how exactly do employers steal rightful wages from workers? Here are some common methods.
1. Asking you to work without clocking in
Your shift starts when you enter the workplace, including the time you spend putting on your uniform or protective gear. Similarly, your shift does not end until you leave, which means you should receive payment for any cleaning or closing tasks you do. Additionally, your employer should pay you if he or she makes you work through your lunch or break. If your boss asks you to work off-the-clock, he or she may be cheating you out of the wages you deserve.
2. Misclassifying you
If the company you work for says you are an independent contractor when you should be an employee, you may be missing out on these rights:
- Minimum wage
- Overtime pay
- Workers' compensation
- Unemployment insurance
Additionally, you may need to pay self-employment taxes when your employer should be paying them in the form of payroll taxes.
3. Denying wages altogether
Perhaps the most blatant form of wage theft is a failure to pay. Your employer may not fully pay you if he or she illegally deducts your pay. This may also occur if your employer does not give you your last paycheck.
If you suspect you are losing out on wages because of illegal actions from your employer, you should consider your legal options.