Is wage theft a crime in California?

Wage theft occurs when employers fail to pay employees the wages they are owed. While it is a labor law violation, wage theft is widespread in California and viewed as a serious crime against employees. Unlawfully denying a worker’s rightful wages is likely to boost a company’s profitability while creating financial difficulties for the worker.

Employers can commit wage theft in many different ways. They may withhold overtime, pay below minimum wage, deny meal or rest breaks, require unpaid off-the-clock work, refuse to reimburse business expenses, or take employees’ tips. Companies often use tactics to try to hide wage theft, such as by threatening to fire a worker in retaliation for asking about their overtime pay.

The first step in fighting wage theft is to know your rights as an employee. If you think your employer has committed wage theft, talk to a California employment law attorney. Erlich Law Firm can help you determine whether you have a valid claim against your employer.

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