The state Labor Commissioner cited a Southern California subcontractor for $12 million in wage theft infractions affecting more than 1,000 employees. RDV Construction workers provided drywall work, framing and other labor on hotels, apartments and other structures around Los Angeles.
The commissioner’s office says over 21 months, RDV paid employees with checks that were not deposited due to insufficient funds and that after the checks bounced, the company failed to pay workers the wages they earned.
Is your employer stealing from you?
Nearly one-third of California’s workforce includes low-income workers – those who make less than $14.35 per hour – and are especially vulnerable, often suffering hardships when they do not receive the pay they have earned. The U.S. Labor Department says minimum wage violations occur roughly 372,000 times each week in the state.
A recent report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) says American workers are cheated out of roughly $16 billion each year by employers. The EPI report focused on eight states, including California, and found that 2.4 million workers lose an average of $3,300 per year due to minimum wage violations alone.
How do employers steal from you?
There are many methods companies use to keep your hard-earned pay, including:
- Paying workers less than the minimum wage
- Asking or forcing employees to work off-the-clock before or after their shifts
- Not allowing workers to take legal meal breaks
- Not paying mandated time-and-a-half overtime to non-exempt workers when their hours exceed 40 in a week
- Taking illegal deductions from paychecks and not providing workers with detailed pay stubs
- Seizing tips from workers, and not ensuring tipped workers’ hourly rates meet or exceed the minimum wage
- Misclassifying workers as independent contractors to avoid paying them minimum wage, or not providing the benefits they are entitled to receive
Recovering lost wages requires knowledgeable legal advice
A study conducted in California of wage claims made between 2008 and 2011 found that only 17% of workers who won their cases received even a portion of their stolen pay. The study found that without a settlement, workers rarely get their money. If you are the target of wage and hour violations by your employer, it’s essential to work with an employment attorney with extensive experience who will vigorously fight for your rights and help you get the pay you have earned.