WAGE THEFT: MOST CALIFORNIA EMPLOYEES HAVE NO IDEA THAT THEIR EMPLOYER IS STEALING THEIR WAGES…
In broad terms, wage theft is the non-payment or underpayment of employees for hours worked, whether intentional or not. It can include any of the following:
- Employers paying out less than the minimum wage
- Paying employees the tipped minimum wage for non-tipped work (e.g. Paying a server $2.13 per hour for doing side work like polishing silverware or cleaning glasses)
- Refusing to provide overtime pay
- Failing to give workers meal breaks
- Requiring employees to do off-the-clock work
A truly shocking report came out in 2018. The report detailed that many top U.S. corporations—from Walmart to Bank of America to AT&T—”have fattened their profits by forcing employees to work off the clock or depriving them of required overtime pay,” based on a review of labor lawsuits and enforcement actions. “Wage theft goes far beyond sweatshops, fast-food outlets, and retailers. It is built into the business model of a substantial portion of corporate America.” Among the dozen most penalized corporations-
- Walmart, with $1.4 billion in total settlements and fines…
- FedEx with $502 million.
- Bank of America ($381 million)
- Wells Fargo ($205 million)
- JPMorgan Chase ($160 million)
- State Farm Insurance ($140 million)
It’s not only large Fortune 100 companies that steal employees’ wages; smaller businesses like restaurants are also some of the largest thieves…
HOW DO RESTAURANTS GET AWAY WITH WAGE THEFT?
“Wage theft permeates the restaurant industry, from fast food to fine dining. Though some cities and states have taken steps to protect workers, the problem is rampant: According to a recent New York Times editorial, the Department of Labor’s wage and hour division reported almost “84 percent of full-service restaurants it investigated between 2010 and 2012 had violated labor standards,” and those included wage and tip violations.” From failing to pay overtime to not giving meal breaks, there are numerous ways for employers to cheat workers out of money.
- Wage theft: more than three-quarters (77%) of 337 restaurant employees surveyed have been victims of wage theft by their employers during the past year, and a third said it happens regularly. Restaurants’ varying systems of distributing tips are confusing and open to abuse.
- Break violations & fraud: nearly a quarter of our sample said employers made them falsely record taking unpaid.
- Meal breaks. More than 80% reported violations of their legal rights to breaks, either working more than 6 hours without having a meal break or being prevented or discouraged from taking rest breaks.
- Time theft & unstable schedules: most workers surveyed get their work schedules less than a week in advance and 85% get less than two weeks’ notice. Other common practices, such as on-call and open-ended scheduling, rob employees of their personal time.
- Sick time & health: more than three-quarters (78%) of workers in the sample have gone to work when they’re sick, injured, or in pain, and 65% have done so repeatedly. Only 11% reported having any paid sick time, and only 17% get any health insurance from their jobs.
- Discrimination: wage theft most often targeted women, latinos, and “back-of-the-house” staff.
Among 337 San Diego County restaurant employees surveyed, 77% reported that employers had stolen their wages in at least one way during the past year. A third (33%) of the sample said their earnings were stolen by their employers regularly (always or often).
EMPLOYEE RIGHTS: DO YOU KNOW YOUR RIGHTS?
If you think that your employer has violated your rights, let us start helping you immediately! Have you been wrongly fired or harassed? Not paid overtime? Forced to work through your breaks? Not reimbursed for business expenses? If the answer is yes to any of these questions — or you think your employer has otherwise violated your rights — let Lawyers for Employee and Consumer Rights help you recover money or other compensation you may be owed.
California’s workplace protection laws are among the country’s strongest. It was California that pioneered laws requiring that workers take uninterrupted meal and rest breaks in 1916. Other states and federal courts still look to California when defining workers’ rights and setting the rules employers must play by.
This is a summary of the most common employer violations that might entitle you to receive monetary compensation, getting your job back, or making an employer follow the law. Many employees are experiencing violations of federal or California workplace-fairness laws without even knowing it. Often, though, workers rightly sense that something is wrong with how employers treat their workers.
One of our lawyers will help determine if you have a claim by phone. Or, contact us through our ONLINE CHAT. There is no charge for speaking with our lawyers. Everything you tell us is strictly confidential.
Learn more about your employee rights. Lawyers for Employee and Consumer Rights (LFECR) is a leading California employment law firm. With 40+ remote attorneys, LFECR can work on behalf of clients anywhere in California. Fired unfairly? Your free consult awaits! Call 888-625-0959. IM our Facebook page.