Altered time cards, pressure to work off the clock, and misclassifying employees to avoid paying overtime or benefits, are illegal employer practices that have earned the title “wage theft.” Many low wage earners are victims of wage theft, particularly in the fast food business. Employees rarely come forward for fear of losing their job, or because they feel they cannot afford an attorney.
In response to these issues, California adopted the Wage Theft Prevention Act, which requires, in part, notifications to workers of basic employment information. The Act criminalizes deliberate violations for non-payment of wages, and requires compensation to the employee. Employers who fail to pay a minimum wage will also be hit with civil penalties. The Act allows employees to recover attorney’s fees and costs associated with enforcing a judgment for unpaid wages.
Under the Act, employers are required to provide a specific notice to employees when they are hired, and again within 7 days of a change if the change is not listed on the employee’s pay stub for the subsequent pay period.
The notice must state:
- the rate or rates of pay, and whether the employee will be paid hourly, by the shift, per day, per week, paid a salary, or by piece rate, commission, or by other method;
- whether the employee qualifies for overtime, and what the overtime rate is;
- allowances, if any, claimed as part of the minimum wage (such as meal or lodging allowances);
- what the regular designated payday is;
- the name of the employer, including any “doing business as” names used by the employer;
- the physical address of the employer’s main office or principal business location, and the mailing address;
- the employer’s telephone number;
- the name, address, and telephone number of the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier; and
- other information as required.