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Landmark wage theft case filed in Pennsylvania

April 19, 2021 | Employment Law

Are You a Victim of California Wage Theft?

Last week in Pennsylvania, Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced that his office was filing charges in the largest wage theft case in United States history.  Glenn O. Hawbaker, Inc., a State College, PA contractor who is employed by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, is accused of stealing more than $20 million from its employees.  Hawbaker is a civil contractor employed by the state for major highway, bridge, tunnel and related civil construction projects.  AG Shapiro brings multi-million dollar theft charges against Hawbaker, Inc. | ABC27

Wage theft can happen at a much smaller scale and can impact an individual’s ability to pay for housing, healthcare, utilities and other necessities. When wage theft happens to you, understanding your rights and getting what you are owed can be difficult to handle without a California wage theft lawyer.

In California, the Wage Theft Protection Act went into effect on January 1, 2012. This act amends existing laws and adds new protections to California workers. The Act requires private sector employers to inform all new hires of:

  • Employee’s pay rate, including details on salary, hourly, or commission structure.
  • Allowances, if any, claimed as part of the minimum wage, including meal or lodging allowances.
  • The defined, regular payday designated by the employer.
  • Legal name of the employer, including any “doing business as” names used by the employer;
  • Legal/physical address of the employer’s main office or principal place of business (headquarters), and a mailing address, if different.
  • Employer’s telephone number.
  • Name, address, and telephone number of the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier.
  • Any other information deemed “material and necessary” by the Labor Commissioner.


Labor Commissioner’s Office states that everyone who works in California is entitled to protection by the state’s labor laws regardless of where you were born and whether or not you have papers. The LCO will not ask you about your immigration status or report immigration status to ICE. You do not need a photo ID or driver’s license to report a wage theft violation.

Wage theft can occur in a multitude of ways:

  • paying less than minimum wage
  • failure to pay earned overtime
  • illegally withholding tips or gratuity for workers
  • prohibiting workers from taking meal and rest breaks
  • failure to pay the promised wage
  • failure to offer sick leave or family/medical leave
  • not providing pay stubs or wage statements
  • bouncing paychecks
  • failing to reimburse employees for items such as uniforms and tools needed for the job
  • reporting time pay incorrectly
  • failure to pay final wages within 72 hours
  • retaliation against employees for taking steps to protect their labor rights

Each year, more than 30,000 California workers file wage claims and in 2017 workers recovered more than $40 million in damages.

Labor violations and wage theft should be immediately reported to the Labor Commissioner’s Office. If you suspect that you are a victim of California wage theft, please call the labor & employment lawyers of Lavi & Ebrahimian, LLP at (310) 861-2797 for a free initial consultation.