New California employment law impacts workers

Recently California Governor Gavin Newson signed Assembly Bill No. 1003 into law. This statute is important for many California workers because it makes intentional theft of wages a felony. Those who are perpetrators of the crime can now find themselves charged with grand theft.

California Assembly Bill 1003

According to AB 1003, “intentional” theft of wages by an employer consists of:

  • An employer taking an amount of $950 or greater from any employee
  • An employer taking the aggregate of $2,350 or more from two or more employees in any 12 months

Independent contractors in California are now recognized as employees and any company that hires independent contractors are considered employers.

Making intentional wage theft a felony likely increases the chance of employers being charged with a crime. In the past, this type of violation has generally not amounted to more than a misdemeanor and a fine. California workers will now be able to hold their employer accountable for wage theft and an employer can now face criminal charges.

Wronged employees may also take civil action

If a California employee believes their employer has failed to pay their full and proper wages, they do not have to wait for criminal charges to take action. In fact, many employees bring civil wage and hour claims against employers throughout California every year. Depending on the circumstances, an employee may be owed significant back pay for unpaid overtime or other unpaid wages, as well as their employer’s failure to provide legally compliant meal and rest breaks. An attorney who specializes in employment law can help their client understand their options and help them receive maximum compensation.