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Wage theft is a form of fraud that occurs when employers do not pay their workers in accordance with the law. Many employees experience wage theft in many different ways, and these individuals deserve to be compensated for all of their unpaid wages. Speak with an employment law lawyer in California about a possible case as soon as possible.

Whether an employer makes an honest mistake or intentionally violates the law, wage theft can result in serious losses for employees. Too often, an employee might not even realize they experienced wage theft, as this violation can take many forms. A California unpaid wages lawyer can evaluate your situation and advise you whether your employer owes you money for unpaid wages or benefits. 

Examples of Wage Theft

There are many different laws that protect an employee’s right to certain payments in California, and there are many ways that employers violate these laws. Some examples of how wage theft might occur include:

  1. Receiving less than the current state or local minimum wage for all hours worked
  2. Failing to pay overtime or double time rates when required by law
  3. Misclassifying employees as exempt or independent contractors
  4. Not letting employees take a required meal or rest breaks or requiring employees to be “on call” or work during breaks
  5. Having deductions from your paycheck that were not authorized
  6. Managers or owners taking an employee’s tip earnings
  7. Not getting all wages that your employer promised, including hourly wages, bonuses, commissions, or piece-rate pay
  8. Not receiving reimbursement for reasonable business expenses
  9. Not receiving premiums for split shifts
  10. Not letting employees take paid sick leave that they accrued
  11. Failing to pay for unused accrued vacation time
  12. Not providing the final paycheck in the proper time period
  13. Having paychecks that are late or that bounce
  14. Failure to pay overtime
  15. Failure to receive Reporting Time Pay
  16. Failure to provide timely access to personnel files and payroll records

Employers also can violate wage laws by refusing to allow employees to access payroll records and other files. If you think that your employer might have engaged in any of the above behaviors, you might have unpaid wages you deserve, and you should reach out to a trusted employment attorney.

California Wage Theft Laws

The Wage Theft Protection Act of 2011 went into effect on January 1, 2012, and added section 2810.5 to the California Labor Code. The act requires all employers to provide every employee with a written notice containing specified information at the time of their hire.

Workers must receive the required notice containing specific information at the time of their hire, including:

  • The rate or rates of pay and the basis for pay
  • Whether they receive pay by the hour, shift, day, week, salary, piece, commission, or otherwise
  • Any rates for overtime
  • Allowances, if any, including meal or lodging allowances
  • Regular paydays designated by an employer as required by law
  • Any other information the Labor Commissioner deems material and necessary.

All private sector employers get coverage from the Wage Theft Protection Act of 2011 unless there is a specific exception. With certain exceptions, employers must provide written notice to every employee at the time of hiring. This notice gives employees a jumping off point to recognize wage theft. If anything does not match with what they received, they should speak with an attorney immediately.

Taking Action for Wage Theft

Sometimes, an employer simply makes an error, and they are willing to correct it when we contact them about your unpaid wages. Other times, however, employers deny the problem, which requires us to file an unpaid wages complaint. Even worse, some employees experience unlawful retaliation by an employer for complaining of possible wage theft.

We will need to gather and present the proper documentation and evidence to prove that your employer did, in fact, commit wage theft. The evidence needed will vary depending on the specific issues and claims in your situation. We know how to build your case in order to bring your strongest claim for unpaid wages. We also bring claims on behalf of multiple employees who suffered the same type of wage theft from the same employer.

Contact a California Unpaid Wage Attorney Today

If you think your employer has wrongly taken wages from you, then you could have a wage theft claim. You will want to get in touch with Mara Law Firm for help with filing a claim and recovering all of the financial compensation you need and deserve.

Our firm works tirelessly to help people get justice for wrongful employment practices. Please contact us online to arrange a free consultation that will allow us to really dig into the details of your case and fully understand everything you are dealing with.

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This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by attorney David Mara who has more than 20 years of legal experience in employment law.

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