Employers must adhere to state and federal labor laws, including paying their employees fair wages for their time and work. However, what happens when the business you work for doesn’t meet its obligations in terms of salary and overtime pay? What is wage theft, and how do you know if you’re a victim?
Understanding your rights as an employee is the first step to preventing wage theft. The indications that an employer is engaging in unlawful wage practices may be subtle, but if you know the signs, you are more likely to pay attention and protect your rights and your paycheck.
What Is Wage Theft According to the Law?
While wage theft is not technically a legal term, employers who engage in it are breaking the law. The phrase describes employers who intentionally refuse to pay workers minimum wage or overtime as required by law. In other words, employers must pay employees the full amount they are owed, or the employee can file a suit against them.
Why Combating Wage Theft Matters for Everyone
Wage theft affects the entire system, from the state economy to the lowest-paid workers. Minimum wage violations, for example, can push the lowest-wage workers below the poverty line and increase downward wage pressure on other workers in those industries. Lower overall wages and increased poverty raise the demand for public assistance, impacting taxpayers, and lost wages affect local and state economies.
In other words, wage theft hurts all stakeholders, including consumers. What is wage theft? Wage theft is a drain on the labor system and a drag on the economy. Learn the signs and significance of wage theft so you can protect yourself and your community.
How To Define What Is Wage Theft for Employers and Colleagues
While employers may not realize they’re committing wage theft, a lack of awareness of minimum wage and overtime laws does not protect them from litigation. You may feel a need to explain the potential legal implications of compensation methods to your employer, especially if you get the sense the problem is not recognized. Alternatively, you may want to enlist the help of your colleagues in pursuing answers to the problem together.
According to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, employers must follow federal and state laws regarding compensation in several areas. Many states and localities have even more robust protections, but at a minimum, employers must:
- Understand and follow federal and state minimum wage requirements
- Maintain the distinctions between exempt and non-exempt employee expectations and compensation
- Provide adequate and timely compensation for hours worked beyond the standard 40 hours per week
When you recognize that your employer isn’t following the law, it’s time to seek legal representation to protect yourself, your fellow employees and your community.
How To Protect Yourself and Seek Restitution
What is wage theft protection and how can you obtain it? If you live in California and believe you’ve been the victim of wage theft, contact us for help. Our team will evaluate your situation and work hard to hold rights abusers accountable. With offices throughout the state and rapid response to online inquiries, we can carry the burden of your wage theft litigation so you can get back to living your life.