If you suspect your wages are being stolen, you can start by reaching out to your employer or manager to see if they can address the issue.
But if you’re routinely not allowed to take your meal or rest breaks, and if your employer takes away the tips you’ve made, you may want to seek help outside your workplace.
Advocates suggest keeping track of the hours and dates you work. Hold on to paychecks and pay stubs; you may need copies if you choose to submit a claim. Also, keep a log of any correspondence between you and your employer about the suspected wage theft.
Another option is to contact one of California’s 30 worker centers or organizations like the Garment Worker Center or the Warehouse Worker Resource Center, which help workers build their claims or connect with other workers who had wages stolen. Depending on the claim, a worker center may bring the case to the Labor Commissioner to trigger a Bureau of Field Enforcement investigation, which would require workers to give testimony.
You also may file a wage-and-hour complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor, which operates regional offices throughout the state.
Neither the California Labor Commissioner nor the U.S. Department of Labor will ask about immigration or citizenship status.