Wage theft occurs when an employer fails to follow federal, state, or local laws regarding employees’ wage and overtime rights. These basic rights generally include receiving the minimum wage, overtime compensation, an accurate accounting of their work hours, and breaks. In essence, when an employer does not receive full compensation (including overtime) for all of their work, or fails to receive legally mandated breaks, an employer is stealing from the employee.
A June 2018 national study of wage theft claims across the country by Good Jobs First has confirmed what my law firm has seen for years: that wage theft is “rampant” amongst big corporations. In fact, over the last two decades, big companies have had to pay out nine billion dollars in compensation and penalties. The most common types of wage theft include:
- Overtime violations—where an employer fails to pay employees overtime or double time.
- Misclassification—where employers misclassify employees as exempt and fail to abide by wage and overtime laws regarding those employees.
- Meal/rest break violations—when California employers fail to provide mandated rest and meal breaks to employees based on the number of hours they work in a day.
- Late payments or failure to pay—failing to provide timely paychecks to employees, or failure to pay them at all.
- Off-the-clock work—when an employer makes an employee perform work before, during, or after their shift but does not count those hours as work hours—thereby depriving the employee of earned pay.
Alarmingly, the report revealed that California has—by a landslide—the most successful wage theft lawsuits in the country with a total of 676 state and federal cases since 2000. The second most is New York with just 132 total cases during that same period. And some of the settlements or verdicts have been massive, like California-based Wells Fargo, which has had to pay over $200 million in wage theft claims since 2000.
On the bright side, however, is that the massive settlements and victorious lawsuits in California against unscrupulous companies also speaks volumes about the power that employees have in this state to hold them accountable. It means that if you are employed in California and your employer has been ripping you off, you have a fighting chance to get what you deserve.
Call Moss Bollinger to Fight For You
Wage and overtime violations by an employer are the same thing as stealing. You work hard for your money and it infuriates us when employers rip their employees off. At Moss Bollinger, we have a proven record of holding employers accountable when they violate the law. We want to help you enforce your rights. We work on a contingency basis, which means we don’t get paid unless you do. Call Moss Bollinger today at (866) 535-2994 to schedule a free consultation or submit our online form.