Failing to pay an employee the minimum wage in California would be considered a violation of wage and hour labor laws.
Wage and hour violations along with things like bullying in the workplace, sexual harassment, hostile work environment, and discrimination are all violations of California Labor Laws. These are the types of things that employers all over the state are being sued for. However, even though an employer may be in violation of these laws not every employer has or will be sued.
How is it that employers can violate wage and hour laws in conjunction with other laws like the minimum wage in California and not find themselves in court?
Many employees are not going to like this answer and I am sorry about that, sometimes life is just not fair. Employers may love this answer and yet the answer is not a get out of jail free card. It is much better and wiser for employers to comply than not comply with all of the regulations in regards to Cal-OSHA, and California Labor Laws. Hiring a Cal-OSHA Consultant is one of the smartest things that an employer could do in these days and times.
With that introduction here is why every employer who is in violation of the law is not being sued.
- Employees do not want to deal with the hassle of a lawsuit
- A hostile work environment can be difficult to prove, it is kind of a he said she said violation
- Sometimes there is a hostile work environment is there but but the hostility does not hit upon the protected status, such as race, gender bias, religious rights, sexual harassment.
- Some industries are known for being a little rough around the edges, industries such as oil field worker, automotive repair, construction workers. These are all industries that are cut some slack even though they are in violation of the law.
- Are there deep pockets, if not many attorneys will not even take the case.
Since all of that is true why should employers comply with the minimum wage in California and the other laws mentioned?
First of all just because some attorneys will not take these cases employees can go to the Department of Fair Housing and Employment. Even if the department of Fair Housing and Employment does not take the case they can give the employee a right to sue later that the employee can take to an attorney. This letter may encourage an attorney to take the case when normally they would not. In addition to that some attorneys will take the case for principle sake along. There is nothing worse that a good labor law trial attorney taking a case for principle sake. Not only that but who wants the publicity that a law suit brings the more exposure that you have the more of a mark that you are for a Cal-OSHA visit.
The real reason is cost, if you get sued you could easily be out a minimum or $60,000.00 or more just to defend yourself, and if you go to court and lo0se you also must pay the employees attorney’s court costs. That is a lot of money. Just in case you are wondering the Employers Practices Liability Insurance will not cover wage and hour claims such as failing to pay the proper wages in California. They will help you with the harassment cases, and wrongful termination cases but that is all.
What is the minimum wage in California?
The current minimum wage in California is $10.00. However, if the employee must supply their own tools you must double that rate to $20.00. The minimum wage will be going up next year. Some cities like San Diego, and San Francisco have a higher minimum wage than the rest of the state.
If you own a business in multiple cities you need to check out the minimum wage for each city to make sure you are paying correctly.