Statistically speaking, California has a larger number or low wage jobs than many other cities and states across the country. Part of this is result of the large variety of employment opportunities throughout the state, and part of it is a long history of California’s employers taking advantage of the working poor.
According to a recent article from The Berkeley Blog, low-wage jobs may be California’s Achilles’ heel. A study referenced in the article showed that, in 2014, around one-third of all workers in the state of California earned less than $14 per hour. This equates to around 5 million workers, and most of them are adults working full-time to support their families. To make matters worse, they have an average annual income less than $16,000, and the vast majority of them does not have any health insurance, benefits, or receive overtime pay.
The reason for this is that many of them are victims of wage theft. As our Los Angeles employment attorneys can explain, low-wage workers are at significant risk of wage theft from employers, because they feel they have little opportunity for higher paying jobs and do not want to risk what little they have with employer retaliation. Even though it is illegal to retaliate against employees for standing up for their legal rights, it happens all the time. Another reason is that there are many foreign born workers who do not know the laws or may worry about their immigration status, so they are more reluctant to speak up to their employers. There is also a great deal of race-based discrimination across California in terms of how workers are mistreated on a regular basis. This is also illegal, but happens regularly.
One of the more troubling aspects of these study results is that the problem is getting worse as time goes by and not better. Fifty years ago, many of these low paying jobs were part-time employment for young people before they went to school or learned a trade, which would allow them to attain a higher paying job. Today the vast majority of these low-wage workers are over 35 years of age, and this is likely the highest level of employment they expect to attain.
It should be noted, this is not a problem limited to California, as this is very much a national problem and a national trend, but California has a disproportionate number of low-wage workers as compared to other states, so the problem is worse here. Much of California’s vast economy is being built on the mistreatment of low-wage workers.
It is important to understand if you find yourself in this category of low paid workers, and your employer is not paying you overtime wages, not providing legally required benefits, or otherwise violating labor laws, you should speak with an experienced employment attorney, because you may have a valid cause of action against your employer, and he or she should not be able to continue to get away with treating employees in such a horrific manner.
Contact the employment attorneys at Nassiri Law Group, practicing in Orange County, Riverside and Los Angeles. Call 714-937-2020.
Low-wage jobs are California’s Achilles’ heel, May 20, 2015, The Berkeley Blog
More Blog Entries:
Adams v. CDM Media USA – Age Discrimination Lawsuit to Proceed, March 12, 2015, Costa Mesa Wage and Hour Lawyer Blog