Is under the table employment legal?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Is under the table employment legal?

An employer of a self-owned gas station is telling a hired employee that he is going to take her off of the legal payroll, and pay her

Asked on June 17, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, "under the table employment" is NEVER legal. Employers must withhold for taxes from all wages and salary and must properly report (e.g. on a form W2) all wages paid and taxes withheld. (There would also have to be withholding for certain other things, like unemployment.) And if the employee is paid on an hourly basis (as opposed to an annual salary), the employer must track and pay for all hours accurately. These obligations cannot be circumvented by saying you are paying someone under the table, since the employer cannot escape their legal obligations--the law requires the employer to do certain things, and it is illegal to not do them.
If she is fired for not accept an illegal way to pay her or violation of tax and/or labor laws, she should contact the state department of labor to file a complaint.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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