California’s Wage Theft Act | DCR Workforce Blog

California’s Wage Theft Act

California’s Governor has just signed the wage theft act, which models itself on New York’s Wage theft Act very closely, to ensure that non-exempt employees are furnished with specific written information concerning the terms of their employment, immediately upon hire. This is in line with the results of study by the University of California, which has revealed the ill-treatment being meted out to the larger population of front-line workers (which excludes managers and professional and technical workers) in low-wage industries numbered about 744,220 workers, or 17.0 percent of all workers in L.A. County.

Many such studies have highlighted the so-called workplace enforcement crisis with many low wage workers, characterized by the violation of many long-established legal standards, which require employers to follow the following tenets:

  • Pay minimum wages with time-and-a-half for overtime hours and provide regular work hours and breaks. Document payroll information.
  • Avoid employer retaliation and tip-stealing and getting work off-the-clock.
  • Guarantee the right to organize and bring complaints about working conditions.
  • Protect workers’ health and safety.
  • Carry workers’ compensation insurance in case of on-the-job injury
  • Avoid discrimination on the basis of age, race, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.

This is on the lines of what is proposed by the State of Massachusetts. The ultimate loss in all this accrues to all the staffing companies which may or may not have violated any law ever but would still have to toe the line on these requirements, thanks to the rampant workforce enforcement crisis. From 2012, employers in California need to provide non-exempt, nonunionized employees the following information in writing:

  • The name of the employer, as well as the ‘doing business as’ names used
  • The physical address of the employer’s main office as well as the mailing address (if it differs from the main address) with telephone numbers
  • Rate/s of pay where it could be an expected range of pay, basis for pay (hours, shift, day, week, salary, commission etc), overtime, designated payday, allowances if any – for meals, lodging etc.
  • The name, address and telephone numbers if the employer’s worker’s compensation insurance carrier
  • Any other information deemed material or necessary by the labor commissioner.

Let us hope that the State of Massachusetts which has set a course for itself to control some of the ills faced by temporary workers, will see the merit and sense of going with a similar bill instead of the draconian law proposed to put massive curbs and high administrative pressure and costs on staffing companies, while extending it even lawyers and managers taking up temporary work. Enacting such difficult laws makes their enforcement equally difficult as they excite resistance to implementation and prove counter-productive by being scrapped sooner than later.

The content on this blog is for informational purposes only and cannot be construed as specific legal advice or as a substitute for competent legal advice. They reflect the opinions of DCR Workforce and may not reflect the opinions of any individual attorney. Do contact an attorney for advice specific to your issue or problem.
Lalita is a people/project manager with extensive experience in operations, HCM and training and development across industries like banking, education, business consulting, BPO and information technology. She believes in a dynamic approach to life and learning as change is the only constant.