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When wage theft amounts to discrimination

On Behalf of | Jan 5, 2024 | Employment Law

Employees have a right to fair pay. Yet, some employers may take advantage of their workers and commit wage theft. 

There are many kinds of wage theft. For example:

  • An employee may not be given overtime pay. California employment laws grant workers one and one-half their typical pay for every hour worked above 8 hours in a day or 40 hours in a week, which doubles for 12-hour shifts.
  • An employee is misclassified. Misclassification can cause an employee to lose overtime pay, workers compensation and medical benefits.
  • An employee’s salary was reduced to pay for uniforms. Employers are required to pay for uniforms and other expenses. 
  • An employee is not being paid minimum wage. The minimum wage in California is $16 an hour.

Employees should be rewarded with an equal amount of pay for the work they do. It should also be equal to other employees who do the same job. However, if one employee is facing wage theft or unequal pay and no one else is, then they could be a victim of wage discrimination

Wage discrimination happens when an employee is paid differently or treated differently based on their gender, race, age, sex or disability. If you believe you’re a victim of wage discrimination, then you may need to learn what you can do next:

How to prove that you’re a victim of wage discrimination

Before it’s argued that wage theft is a form of discrimination, you may need to gather evidence. Here’s what you may need to consider doing:

  • Find out what your co-workers are being paid and compare it to your salary. 
  • Find out if other employees have suffered from wage theft.
  • Find out if other victims of wage theft have protected characteristics. 

You may find that you’re not the only victim of wage discrimination. If you find evidence that discrimination is rampant in your workplace, you may need to reach out for legal help.