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What Are Some Examples Of Ways Employers Commit Wage Theft In California?

There are a variety of ways that an employer can commit wage theft in California. The California Labor Commissioner actually lists various examples, such as paying less than the minimum wage; not paying the agreed-upon compensation, wages, or overtime; denying vacation time; bouncing checks; taking an employee’s tips; and not reimbursing employees for business expenses, among other things. Wage theft boils downs to the employer taking what otherwise would belong to the employee.

What Constitutes An Employee In California Versus An Independent Contractor?

Under California law, all workers who are providing services for somebody else are typically considered employees and not independent contractors. A person will be an independent contractor only if they meet a very specific set of criteria in the law that allows for somebody to work as an independent contractor versus an employee; those criteria include things like business-to-business relationships, professional relationships (like certain doctors, lawyers, and licensed professionals), and a variety of other exemptions in the law. The general rule is that anyone who does work for someone else is going to be an employee unless the employer can prove otherwise.

How Do I Report An Employer For Misclassification Of My Employment?

If you believe you were misclassified, the best thing to do is reach out to an experienced lawyer who can advise you and help you through the process, which can be complicated. There are various forums for making a claim. One example is a wage claim at the California Labor Commissioner’s Office, and another would be through filing a lawsuit. An experienced attorney would be able to evaluate your situation and determine if you were, in fact, misclassified. If so, they can advise you on your best course of action (typically, filing either with the labor commissioner or in the court).

What Happens If An Employer Doesn’t Pay An Employee On Time In California? Is That A Violation?

It is a violation, and there are actually various penalties that are written into the law if the employer fails to pay on time, and those penalties have been reinforced in the last couple of years. For an initial violation, the penalty would be $100 for each employee. For each subsequent violation, it would be $200 per employee, plus 25% of the amount that was unlawfully withheld. Let’s say somebody was owed $1,000 and they were paid late; they can recover $1,000 plus $100 in penalty fees the first time. Were they to be paid late again, they could recover $1,000 plus a $450 penalty, which would be the $200 plus 25% of the balance of $1,000.

Can An Employer Deny Unpaid Time Off In California?

It really depends on what type of unpaid time off it is since there are certain unpaid leave times that are mandated by law. For example, if somebody needs to take a leave under the Family Medical Leave Act to care for themselves or a family member, or a leave under the California Family Rights Act to bond with a newborn or new child, that time would be unpaid unless the employer has a payment policy; nevertheless, those leaves are mandated by law. The employee would be entitled to damages for a violation of the law if the employer failed to provide the leave, and they could pursue that in court or through administrative proceeding.

On the other hand, if it was just a voluntary unpaid leave time policy that the employer implemented on its own, and it wasn’t mandated to do it by law, then there might be a narrow range of potential remedies. In those instances, employees could sue their employer for breaching their own policy in their handbook, but the potential of damages would be far more limited.

How Do I Go About Collecting Unpaid Wages In California?

It’s pretty simple to collect unpaid wages. You would either file a claim with the California Labor Commissioner’s Office or file a lawsuit in court.

How Do I Report Unpaid Or Underpaid Wages In California?

Reporting unpaid wages would require the same process as collecting on those unpaid wages. You would either file a claim with the Labor Commissioner’s Office or file a lawsuit in court.

Why Is It In My Best Interest To Hire An Employment Attorney To Report Unpaid Or Underpaid Wages Or Misclassification Of An Employee?

It’s in your best interest to hire an attorney because the laws can be complicated, and an attorney will be able to advise you on the best course of action and the best venue for bringing your claim. There are some claims that should go through the Labor Commissioner’s Office, and an attorney can still represent you in those proceedings. Other claims are more suited for a lawsuit in court or even potential class action, or a private attorney general action. Your lawyer can determine where your case belongs and what your potential damages and recovery may be.

For more information on Employment Law in California, a 30 minute case evaluation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (213) 257-8999 today.

Fair Employment Lawyers at Kaplan Weiss LLP

Call Now For A 30 Minute Case Evaluation
(213) 257-8999