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Matthew A. Kaufman has successfully represented employees in the areas of Family Medical Leave, Disability Discrimination and Wage & Commissions disputes for more than 20 years

New bill to aid workers in reclaiming unpaid wages

For many workers, the weekly wage is just enough to pay the rent and cover the bare essentials. For some, it's a struggle even to do that much. Imagine, then, how much harder it becomes when all of a sudden those wages don't get paid. How can a family survive if the breadwinner isn't receiving his or her due? A new bill in California aims to help workers in this situation by allowing them to place liens on their employer's properties.

The controversial bill has already passed the Assembly, despite claims from the opposition that it is unjust. Under the bill, an unpaid employee could place liens not only on properties that their employers owned, but even on those at which they had performed work. For example, a homeowner could see liens put on their home if a contracted maid or other service person goes unpaid by their employer.

Some lawmakers feel this unnecessarily drags innocent people into the equation. However, the bill mirrors existing provisions from California's Constitution which already allow employees from the construction industry to claim against properties they have worked on. The Assemblyman responsible for the bill says it is largely aimed at businesses and commercial property and aims to assist low-wage workers being denied the pay they have earned.

If it passes the Senate, this legislation could be of benefit to many workers in California. In the meantime, however, it is still essential to challenge employers who do not keep up with their pay obligations. If you find yourself unpaid, or feel that you are not receiving fair wages, an attorney can advise you of your rights. By standing up to your employer, you can work toward recovering lost wages and ensuring that you and your family receive the income you have earned.

Source: Miami Herald, "Bill lets employees place liens for unpaid wages," Fenit Nirappil, May 28, 2014

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