Assembly Bill 1003, passed in 2021 and effective as of January 1, 2022, makes the intentional theft of employee wages, including gratuities, punishable as grand theft. To qualify as grand theft, the amount taken must be greater than $950 for any one employee, or $2,350 from 2 or more employees, in any consecutive 12-month period. Under this law, grand theft can be charged either as a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in county jail, or as a felony punishable by 16 months to 3 years in county jail.
What is Considered Theft of Wages?
Theft of wages is defined in Section 200 of the Labor Code as: all amounts paid for labor performed by employees of every description, whether the amount is fixed or ascertained by time, task, piece, commission basis, or other method of calculation. Labor is defined as work or service rendered or performed under contract, subcontract, partnership, station plan, or other agreement.
Gratuity is defined in Section 350 of the Labor Code as: any tip, money, or part thereof that has been paid, given to or left for an employee by a patron of a business over and above the actual amount due to the business for services rendered or for goods, food, drink, or articles sold or served to the patron.
Employers Aren’t Just Business Owners
An employer does not necessarily have to be a business owner, as Section 350 categorizes employers as: every person engaged in any business or enterprise that has one or more persons in service under any appointment, contract of hire, or apprenticeship; express or implied, oral or written.
AB 1003 also incorporates independent contractors and hiring entities of independent contractors within the definition of “employee”. This bill does not prevent an employee or the Labor Commissioner from commencing a separate civil action against an employer for wage theft.
Stay Up To Date
Staying up to date with current labor laws and classifications can make the difference between a profitable job and a losing one. Now, it can also keep you out of jail!
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