Wage Theft and Failure to Pay for Hours Worked

Recently, a Federal District Court ruled Wal-Mart was liable to certain truck drivers for failure to properly compensate the drivers for hours worked. While this case garnered much attention due to the estimated amount of unpaid wages, in this case up to $100 Million, the reality is employees working for small companies can find themselves in the same position – victims of Wage Theft.  

Wage Theft can happen in a variety of ways. The most common theft appears through the failure to pay overtime wages (in violation of California Labor Code Section 510) and failure to compensate for meal and rest-break periods when the employer doesn’t allow the employee to take advantage of those break periods (in violation of California Labor Code Section 226.7).  

As is shown in the Wal-Mart case, these failures to pay can create large liabilities very quickly.  Failure to pay even $1 triggers an additional damages statute known as California Labor Code Section 203, which allows the employee to collect up to 30 days of additional wages as a penalty against the employer.  It’s important for any employee who believes they’ve been a victim of wage theft, to contact a licensed litigation attorney immediately.  

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