What are some examples of wage theft?
When an employer refuses to pay all the compensation owed to its workers, the employer is committing wage theft. Wage theft can happen to all kinds of employees and independent contractors, including temporary workers, salespersons, hourly wage earners, and those who earn an annual salary or commission. Employees can get their money back, plus damages, by taking legal action against the employer. Without stepping up to take legal action, the employer will likely get away with the wage theft and continue to victimize other employees.
Below are some common examples of wage theft in California:
- Misclassifying workers to avoid paying commissions or overtime
- Failing to pay overtime or track overtime hours
- Not providing meal and rest breaks or deducting time even if the employee did not receive the break
- Withholding commissions or modifying a written commissions plan to avoid paying commissions
- Failing to pay overtime to non-exempt inside salespersons or not factoring sales commissions into overtime
- Requiring off-the-clock work
- Withholding final wages
- Making unauthorized paycheck deductions or stealing tips
- Not reimbursing employees for business expenses
- Paying less than minimum wage
The laws governing whether employees are classified as exempt or non-exempt; or whether they are employees or independent contractors are complex. Under California law, there are separate overtime pay rules for employees in specific occupations. Violating these rules is a form of wage theft. A skilled employment attorney can advise you whether you have been classified correctly.
For example, many salaried IT workers are not compensated for working over 8 hours a day or 40 hours a week, even though some are entitled to overtime pay, particularly if they provide technical support or spend most of their time testing debugging, or executing instructions provided by others.
Even if very highly compensated, inside salespersons may also be entitled to overtime if they spend more than half their time inside the office (or home office) and earn more salary than commissions in any given pay period.
One challenge for workers is proving the amount of actual hours they worked, particularly if the employer does not have an accurate timekeeping system or has manipulated that system. A skilled employment lawyer can compel your employer to turn over all electronic records and analyze them to support your wage claim. Your attorney can also obtain testimony from witnesses who will lend support to your claims.
These are just a few common examples of wage theft in California. If your employer is not paying you the total amount you have earned, speak to an experienced San Francisco Bay Area employment law attorney. McCormack Law Firm can help you review your legal options to recover your wages.
Other Unpaid Wage, Overtime and Commissions Theft FAQs:
- Am I entitled to meal breaks and rest breaks if I am working remotely?
- Are computer programmers and tech workers exempt from overtime?
- Can an employer disclose my immigration status if I file a claim for unpaid wages?
- Can I get fired for claiming overtime pay?
- Can my employer change my commission plan or withhold commissions?
- Can my employer fire me for filing a wage claim?
- Can salaried workers earn overtime in California?
- Do I still get overtime if I am a commissioned salesperson?
- Does my employer have to pay me for off-the-clock work?
- Does my employer have to reimburse me for work expenses?
- How can a lawyer help with my claim for unpaid wages?
- How can I protect myself from wage theft?
- How can I tell if I am an independent contractor?
- How do I file a claim for unpaid wages?
- How do I know if I am entitled to overtime pay?
- How do I know if my employer needs to pay me overtime?
- How is overtime pay calculated in California?
- How much time do I have to file a wage claim in California?
- How much time do I have to file an overtime claim?
- If I receive a salary, am I exempt from overtime?
- If my employment is terminated, is my employer still required to pay me my commissions?
- Is my employer allowed to deduct anything from my paycheck?
- Is my employer allowed to deduct tips from my paycheck?
- Is my employer allowed to withhold my final wages after firing me?
- Is my employer required to pay for my meal break and rest breaks?
- My employer is forcing me to work through meal breaks. What should I do?
- What are some examples of wage theft?
- What are the main differences between an independent contractor and an employee?
- What is an exempt and non-exempt employee?
- What is the minimum wage in California?
- What should I do if I suspect my employer is withholding wages?
- What should I do if my boss asks me to work off the clock?
- What types of damages can I get in a wage claim against my employer?