No matter what line of work you do in California, you can probably relate to many others who think "pay day" is the best day of the week. Especially if you work at a job that involves physical labor and hourly wages plus overtime, you probably scrutinize every paycheck to the very last penny to make sure it's correct. Employers throughout the nation are obligated to adhere to various state and federal regulations that govern wages and timesheets.
It's a real problem when people who work so hard just to make ends meet discover discrepancies in their pay. If you suspect the company you work for is not in compliance with all laws governing pay rate, benefits, etc., you are not alone. Many other workers have addressed similar wage and hour issues in the past.
Most common violations
Every year, there are reviews that list some of the most common types of wage and hour infractions in America's workforce. Time and again, some of the same violations appear on the list, including the following:
- Uninformed change of benefits and/or pay: If your employer changes your pay or your benefits, you must be made aware of the planned changes in writing, and you must sign something saying you have received appropriate notification.
- Unfair deductions: If your employer docked your pay because you lost a work cell phone or your register was short a certain amount of cash, you may dispute the action. There are specific regulations regarding docking an employee's pay, one of which is that the employee must authorize the deduction in writing.
- Failure to pay for two scheduled hours: If your schedule has you working two or more hours and your employer sends you home earlier, your employer must pay you for at least two full hours.
- Work without pay: Failure to pay wages due for all work performed is one the most common violations reported each year.
You are entitled to be paid a just wage for the work you do each day. It's no secret our economy has suffered in recent years. Many people depend on every cent of their wages just to pay their bills and cover the cost of daily living expenses. When an employer is trying to cut costs and save money by unlawfully docking a paycheck or violating some other hour or wage regulation, it can bring undue financial strain upon workers.
The first step in preventing wage and hour violations is to educate yourself as much as possible regarding state and federal laws. Many workers keep thorough documentation of their pay agreements and all hours work, pay received, and other important information. These types of records come in handy if a problem arises. If you're unsure about what to do to rectify a particular situation, you can discuss your problem with a California attorney experienced in defending employee rights.