Is under the table employment legal?

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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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year 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.


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