You are likely among the many people who want to do their jobs right and to the best of their abilities. Because you certainly know that working hard could lead you to more successes, opportunities and income, you likely want to ensure that you do not give your employer reason to believe you have slacked off. However, you may feel concerned when you receive one paycheck — or more — that is lower than you anticipated.
Unfortunately, wage theft is a real concern in many areas of employment. Even worse, many workers do not realize that they have had their rightfully earned wages taken or withheld from them. Some employers may try to hide behind misclassifications or policies that do not adhere to employment law and due to a lack of knowledge on the subject, you and many others may not realize you have been unfairly compensated.
When does wage theft occur?
Wage theft does not always come about in obvious ways. Certainly, if your paycheck is lower than the pay you should have received for hours worked, then you likely know something is off. However, you could also face wage theft in other scenarios that may not seem as upfront, such as having to pay for your work uniform or other items needed to carry out your job duties. Other forms of wage theft include:
- Stealing tips
- Requiring that you work through meal and rest breaks
- Deducting from your paycheck without legal cause
- Paying you “off the books” and therefore, without record of your true pay
- Requiring that you work off the clock and not paying you for those hours
- Failing to pay you for overtime hours worked
Of course, other actions could potentially result in unpaid wages, and gaining information on California state laws may prove useful.
Can you fight wage theft?
Losing out on rightfully-earned pay can not only seem disheartening but also cause you to struggle financially. Luckily, options do exist for fighting wage theft. Reports indicate that more lawsuits have been filed in recent years in relation to this type of violation, but it is unclear whether wage theft is occurring more often or whether employees are better understanding their rights.
If you believe that you have missed out on earned compensation due to wage theft, you may want to look into your legal options. A successful legal claim against the liable parties may allow you to obtain back pay and other monetary restitution for resulting damages.