In May, the California Labor Commissioner released the State of the Division Labor Standards Enforcement Report, which includes the Labor Division's wage violations enforcement activity for 2011 and 2012. The results are not encouraging in California.
Here's a look at the highlights for 2012:
- Over $3 million were assessment for unpaid minimum wage violations, a 462% increase over 2010 assessments.
- Over $13 million were assessed for unpaid overtime wage violations, a 642% increase over 2010 assessments.
- Over $51 million in civil penalties were collected from employers violating labor laws, a 150% increase over 2010.
The Labor Division will continue to enforce California Labor Law to protect employees against violations of minimum and overtime wages, meal and rest breaks, proper classifications and accurate recordkeeping. But as you can see from these numbers, violations of these laws are extremely prevalent for wage violoations.
If you have questions about California Labor Law or would like to discuss a situation you are experiencing at work, please call us toll-free at 888-500-8469. Our attorneys are here to help you understand your rights.
Excerpt from the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement Report:
Ensuring Workers are Paid their Wages
The wage theft crisis in this state is well-documented. A recent UCLA study reported that an estimated $26 million in wages per week are stolen from low-wage workers in Los Angeles County alone. Workers who experienced a pay-based violation in the previous work week lost an average of $2,070 annually due to workplace violations, out of total annual earnings of only $16,536. Of the Los Angeles workers surveyed:
- Almost 30 percent were paid less than minimum wage in the work week preceding the survey.
- 21.3 percent worked more than 40 hours for a single employer during the previous work week. Over three-fourths (79.2 percent) of these workers were not paid the legally required overtime rate by their employers.
- 89.6 percent worked enough consecutive hours to be legally entitled to a meal break. However, more than three fourths of these workers (80.3 percent) experienced a meal break violation in the previous work week.
- 63.6 percent did not receive statutorily-mandated documentation of their wage earnings and deductions.
Wage theft exacts a heavy socio-economic toll on workers, particularly low-wage workers and their communities. The proliferation of wage theft, particularly in the underground economy, underscores the fact that effective, strong enforcement of labor laws is needed now more than ever before, to give working people a chance in our economy.