California saw new wage laws take effect in early 2022. However, in spite of them, which result in hefty penalties against employers for wage theft, fast food workers claim they are owed thousands of dollars.
What’s the situation with the fast-food industry?
The fast-food industry is one of the fastest-growing in California. Many of the industry’s employees are among the lowest paid in spite of being essential to production. Fast-food workers also work long hours and often find that they have to work additional jobs to earn at least close to a living wage.
Breaks are mandatory by law, but many workers find themselves working through them due to being short-staffed and needing the money.
Wage theft is a big problem in fast food
Fast-food workers being forced to work through breaks is a new form of wage theft by their employers. Recently, a survey was conducted and found that 85% of employees in the industry have faced at least one form of wage theft.
While more workers experienced one form of wage theft, 57% percent of fast-food workers reported that they experienced multiple types of wage theft.
Almost one-third of fast-food workers surveyed also said that their employers retaliated against them after they requested pay they were owed or when they asked to take sick days or be paid for sick days.
Many fast-food workers who have experienced wage theft complain about their working conditions as well. Many have to work without air conditioning.
According to a 2017 study by the Economic Policy Institute, it’s believed that wage theft costs workers who earn minimum wage $15 billion every year.