Wage theft is a widespread problem in California. The California Labor Commissioner’s Office is a watchdog agency that has conducted lengthy investigations into wage theft by interviewing employees and reviewing payroll records. The agency has cited many companies for failing to pay workers, but in many cases, the workers have to wait long periods of time to get paid.
IMPORTANT: If your employer has failed to pay you all the wages you are owed, talk to a California employment law attorney about your options. California law provides some of the strongest protections in the world for workers, and talking to an employment lawyer is one of the most important first steps you can take. An employment law attorney can handle your case efficiently and help you get your due wages as quickly as possible.
Why is there a backlog at the Labor Commissioner’s Office?
When an employer is cited for a wage and hour law violation, the employer has the right to appeal the citation. Most employers do appeal because a citation can result in a heavy fine. Because wage theft has been found to be widespread, there have been many citations and consequently many appeals, resulting in a backlog of cases. The pandemic has also slowed down the process at the Labor Commissioner’s Office.
Some large companies are failing to pay employees
Sometimes even large employers systematically commit wage theft. It happens in just about every type of employment, including retail stores, fast food franchises, hair salon chains and grocery chains. In many cases, these larger employers have complex payroll and time-tracking systems in place that effectively steal wages from workers. In fact, unpaid wages can take multiple forms, including unpaid minimum wage, unpaid overtime, and failure to provide legally compliant meal and rest breaks.
If your employer has failed to pay you, the problem may not be isolated to you alone. There may be multiple workers being harmed by wage theft. To learn more about your rights in this type of situation, please see our overview of Employment Class Actions in California.