California, known for its vibrant economy and diverse industries, has robust labor laws in place to protect workers’ rights. Among these laws, the state’s minimum wage stands as a crucial pillar to help ensure fair compensation for employees across various sectors.
However, despite these regulations, some employers attempt to pay below this minimum wage, compromising the livelihood of workers and undermining the principles of labor fairness. If your employer is paying below minimum wage, read on to learn more about your rights and options.
What is minimum wage?
The minimum wage is the lowest hourly rate an employer may legally pay their workers for their labor. It is governed by state law (as the state minimum wage is higher than the federal minimum wage) and updated periodically to keep up with the changing economic landscape. The minimum wage is a critical safeguard against unfair labor practices and helps maintain a level playing field for workers.
What to do if you’re being paid below minimum wage
Unfortunately, some businesses pay below the minimum wage to gain an unfair competitive advantage over law-abiding companies. By cutting labor costs, they can offer products or services at lower prices. If you discover that your employer is paying below the minimum wage, you should know that this violates the state’s labor laws. The California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) enforces wage and hour laws in the state, and this agency takes such violations seriously.
Keeping accurate records of your working hours is essential if you intend to take legal action. This documentation can serve as evidence in case of a dispute and can be crucial in helping ensure you receive fair compensation for your labor. You can file a wage claim afterwards if informal discussions with your employer do not resolve the issue. The DLSE will investigate the claim and, if necessary, take legal action against the employer to recover unpaid wages and enforce penalties for non-compliance.
Minimum wage is a fundamental aspect of labor laws designed to help protect the rights and well-being of workers. Paying below the minimum wage is illegal, and employees can address this issue by knowing their rights and filing wage claims when necessary. Seeking legal guidance is often a good place to start.