As a California worker, you may think wage theft means not receiving your paycheck on time, or not getting paid your full wages. However, there are many different things under California law that constitute wage theft, and it is important to be aware of them.
Minimum wage and regular paychecks
California, like most states, has a minimum wage law. Your employer is not allowed to pay you any less than this. In addition to your regular wages, they must pay you any overtime, bonuses or commissions.
You must be paid on time. The law states that you must be paid at least twice per calendar month. You must receive any overtime pay by the next regular pay period after the pay period you worked the overtime.
Examine your paychecks
When you do get paid, review your paycheck. If your employer is taking anything out of your paychecks they should not be, it may be considered wage theft.
If you work in an industry where you receive tips as part of your job, your employer cannot take tips from you that you are rightfully owed.
Additional examples of wage theft
Wage theft also includes:
- Bounced paychecks
- Being denied lunch or rest breaks
- Withholding sick or vacation time
As an employee, you have a legal right to review your personnel records and payroll records. Your employer must grant your request to review these items. Failure to do so is wage theft.
After you leave your job
Wage theft can also occur after your leave your job. It is illegal for your employer to withhold your final paycheck from you. In fact, they must pay you all your wages, including any overtime, at the time you are terminated.
It should be clear by now that there are many things that are considered wage theft. If you feel you are a victim of wage theft, you can file a wage claim.
Each case is different. Attorneys experienced with wage theft cases can examine your situation to see if you have a valid claim.