A mail-hauling contractor for the U.S. Postal Service in Southern California has paid up $116,513 in back wages and fringe benefits to 67 employees for violating federal labor laws. According to My News LA report, the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division conducted an investigation, which determined that the contractor failed to pay employees for all of the hours they worked. Work performed prior to scheduled shifts, and some work time between routes went unrecorded and unpaid, according to federal investigators.
The unpaid time led to the employer's failure to pay required prevailing wages and fringe benefits to employees. Officials also pointed out that the employer's failure to keep accurate records of the hours worked by employees resulted in record-keeping violations. In a statement, officials said they encourage all government contractors, and all employers to use a wide variety of tools to learn about their responsibilities to ensure that their pay practices are in compliance with the law.
What Are Employers' Responsibilities?
Employers in California have a number of responsibilities they must meet in order to avoid wage theft and violations of California's labor laws. Here are some of the important responsibilities employers have when it comes to paying employees fair wages:
Wages and overtime: Employees must be paid fair wages for the work they perform. Overtime pay is money for any additional hours that employees work. An employer has the responsibility to pay both wages and overtime on time. Employers in California must also pay at least the minimum wage for jobs that fall within those minimum wage guidelines. Each employee also has the right to receive a wage statement with every pay period that clearly states their regular and overtime wages.
Meal and rest breaks: California law requires that employees who work for five hours must be provided a 30-minute break. On-duty break periods, when employees are not permitted to leave their workplaces, are the employer's duty to pay. If an employer does not follow overtime laws in this regard, employees may receive compensation in the form of one hour's worth of wages for each day they did not receive rest and meal breaks as required under the law.
Working off the clock: Some employers may ask workers to perform their jobs before clocking in or after clocking out for the day. For example, employers may ask employees to complete job duties such as filing paperwork, sending or responding to emails, answering phone calls, etc. These off-the-clock duties must be compensated under California law. All work completed by employees must be documented. Any time an employer asks a worker to do a job or task without clocking in or without documentation, that is a violation of labor laws.
Final paycheck: When a person quits or is fired, they still have the right to receive their wages for all hours including any bonuses, commissions, vacation time and paid rest/meal breaks. Employers must provide a final paycheck soon after his or her termination.
What Actions Can You Take?
If you believe that your employer is violating state or federal wage laws, it is important that you raise the issue internally first. If your complaints go unheeded, you may want to speak with an experienced Los Angeles overtime lawyer at Kingsley and Kingsley who can provide you with advice regarding the best course of action. If your employer's wage policies affect a group of workers, you may be able to join a class-action lawsuit. Call Kingsley & Kingsley to obtain more information about pursuing your rights.