Wage Theft Starts with Time Theft
In the State of California, employers are required to ensure their employees are paid the proper minimum wages, overtime wages, and that employees receive wages for missed meal and rest periods. However, minutes of unpaid time can add up to lots of unpaid wages.
Detrimental RoundingOne way that employers often steal wages from employees is by detrimentally rounding time worked. This happens when an employee works, on average, 8 hours and 5 minutes per day,, but is paid only 8 hours on that day. While this may seem like a negligent amount of time worked, if you take an employee working for 4 years with a rate of pay of $15 per hour, that can add up to hundreds of dollars, and, when including penalties, that can be thousands of dollars. Now, if there are hundreds or thousands of employees exposed to the same practices, that can be millions of dollars of unpaid time. While companies are getting increasingly wise to avoid detrimental rounding, surprisingly, many employers still engage in this practice.
If you see your wage statement has rounded entries, it's a good idea to get in touch with a California employment attorney to determine if you are a victim of detrimental rounding and are owed unpaid wages.
Inaccurate Time EntriesAnother manner in which employees' wages are often stolen is if they are not paid for all time under the employer's control. For example, some employees are required to come into work first and go through a lengthy process of putting on safety gear and a uniform first and then wait in long lines to clock in. Then, they may have to clock out before going through a lengthy process in taking off their uniform. In such an instance, an employee may not be paid for all of their time worked under the employer's control, despite clocking in and clocking out.
In other instances, employees may clock in and out for a 30-minute lunch or, in theory, get a 10-minute break, but may not actually be getting their full breaks because of the time it takes to clock in and out and/or take off the same uniforms.
In such instances, the clock entries do not accurately tell the stories of the amounts of time that the employee worked or the length of the breaks taken, and may entitle employees to further wages for time under the employer's control off the clock, as well as the taking of less than full lunch and rest breaks.
If you are required to go through lengthy processes to work off-the-clock or during your break(s) such as putting on a uniform, you may be entitled to further wages. Thus, it's a good idea to get in touch with a California employment lawyer at that point to determine if you are a victim of wage theft.