Wage theft is pretty much at epidemic levels in this country. By dollars and dimes, wage theft deprives U.S. workers of roughly $50 billion every year – and about half a billion or so is owed to workers right here in California.
Wage theft can include everything from refusing to pay overtime that’s due, depriving workers of their breaks, “shorting” their hours or misclassifying employees as contractors or exempt from overtime – among other things. Employers keep doing it simply because many of the victimized employees don’t know their rights, and employers are seldom held accountable for their actions. You can change that, however. If you think you’ve been the victim of wage theft, you can start gathering evidence to substantiate your claim.
Pay stubs or records
Your pay stubs or other wage records are some of the most critical pieces of evidence you may have. They usually provide a detailed breakdown of your earnings, along with vital information like your hourly rate, any additional compensation you receive and the number of hours you supposedly worked in each pay cycle.
Whether your employer writes the weekly schedule on a whiteboard in the breakroom or uses some kind of electronic calendar, start keeping a record. Snap a photo with your phone, if you must. This can be used to show the hours you were supposed to work in comparison with what you actually worked and what you were paid.
If your employer requires you to clock in and out, try to make a copy of your time cards. These can help provide corroborating evidence that backs up your allegations if the information on the time cards doesn’t match your pay or work schedule.
Is your boss constantly asking you to come in to set up before you clock in? Are you told to clock out and then “clean up” before you go home? If you have text messages or other forms of electronic communication from your employer that support your allegations, keep them handy.
Everybody deserves to be paid fair wages. If you’ve been cheated out of what you are rightfully due, there are legal avenues to explore. Depending on your circumstances, you may be owed considerable compensation.