How can a class action lawsuit benefit me if I have been the victim of wage theft in California?

Stanley D. Saltzman

Answered by:
Stanley D. Saltzman

Located in Agoura Hills, CA
Marlin & Saltzman

Stanley D. Saltzman - Class Action/Mass Torts - Super Lawyers

Answered by: Stanley D. Saltzman

Marlin & Saltzman
Agoura Hills, CA
Phone: 818-991-8080
Fax: 818-991-8081

View Profile

According to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), more than two million workers across the country lose $8 billion in wages annually due to wage theft, with $2 billion in wage theft happening in California alone. Although California has some of the most worker-friendly laws in the nation, recovering lost wages due to wage theft can still be difficult. 

Wage theft by employers can include any of the following activities:

  • Failing to pay you the state-mandated minimum wage
  • Failing to pay you overtime as a nonexempt worker
  • Demanding work be done off the clock
  • Illegally deducting wages from your paycheck
  • Misclassifying you as an independent contractor
  • Enforcing other policies that violate state law 

Because recovering lost wages is not always easy, workers can collectively use a class action lawsuit to gain compensation. 

What is a class action lawsuit? 

The legal system allows one person to file a lawsuit against another person or party. Additionally, the legal system also allows many people to band together to file a lawsuit against one person or party, called a class action lawsuit. In this process, people who have a similar claim or “tort” can use their collective power to act against a company. 

This process can be especially powerful in wage theft and employment law cases. According to the EPI, an individual employee loses approximately $3,300 in wage theft. This amount may not create a large enough incentive for the employee and an attorney to take on a case. However, when employees with a similar tort come together (called a “class”), the monetary compensation claim can be worth six figures or more. Then, the compensation is split between the workers in the class. 

You can act individually to get justice for many people 

Although the power of a class action lawsuit rests in a group of people, it only takes one person to act to start the process. If you believe your employer is engaging in wage theft from you and your coworkers, you can take your case to an attorney. 

Your attorney will investigate your claim and work to determine who else might belong to the class in your lawsuit. Class action lawsuits can be especially beneficial to others because you do not need to know you have experienced wage theft to be in the class. Once an attorney determines that a person is or could be part of the class, that person will receive a letter in the mail asking if they would like to participate in the lawsuit. 

For example, say your company has been stealing wages from workers in multiple locations. You realize this and speak to an attorney. Your coworkers who work for the same company who did not realize the wage theft can still participate in the lawsuit. So, your actions can be beneficial not only to yourself but to others who may not understand their rights or realize the violations. 

By understanding what qualifies as wage theft and realizing the power of a class action lawsuit, you can be more informed of your ability as an individual employee to get justice for many.

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

Other Answers By Stanley D. Saltzman

Consumer Protection

What consumer protections are available in California if I have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using talcum powder?

As a consumer, you have a right to use products that will work safely and as intended. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, …

Answered by: Stanley D. Saltzman

Wage & Hour Laws

California: What is Wage Theft?

In California, wage theft can arise from a variety of circumstances, including failing to pay employees the state mandated minimum wage; failing to …

Answered by: Stanley D. Saltzman

Products Liability

California: Does Talcum Powder Cause Ovarian Cancer?

Numerous scientific studies have linked ongoing talcum powder use to an ovarian cancer diagnosis. These studies have shown that companies have been …

Answered by: Stanley D. Saltzman


If you send a lawyer or law firm email through this service, your email will not create an attorney-client relationship and will not necessarily be treated as privileged or confidential. You should not send sensitive or confidential information via this email service. The lawyer or law firm to whom you are writing may not choose to accept you as a client. Moreover, as the Internet is not necessarily a secure environment it is possible that your email sent via the Internet might be intercepted and read by third parties. Super Lawyers will not retain a copy of this message.

Page Generated: 1.5589950084686 sec