California employees owed back wages would be able to place a lien on their former employer’s property under a bill that cleared the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee Wednesday.
Dozens of workers and their supporters rallied at the state capital before marching to the California Chamber of Commerce.
Tia Koonse with the UCLA Labor Center says between 2008-2011, 240 million dollars of unpaid wages went unrecovered in California. Koonse says the bill would prevent unscrupulous employers from ducking out on their obligations.
“The claim will follow those assets no matter where they go,” says Koonse. “So if an employer has legitimately gone under, the worker will still be able to collect. If an employer has fraudulently transferred his assets to another shell corporation, the worker will be able to collect”
Jennifer Barrera with the California Chamber of Commerce says the bill invites fraudulent claims.
“There’s no independent party looking over the lien to determine if it has any merit before it’s filed,” she says.
The Assembly Judiciary Committee will take up the bill next week.