Wage Theft: Workers Recover $1 Billion a Year of Stolen Wages
Wage Theft is Big Business for Employers
As reported here by Forbes, the Economic Policy Institute reported the result of a study showing that, from 2017 to 2020, workers were able to recover $3 billion in wages they had lost during those years. That is $1 billion a year in wages lost to wage theft by employers. As the sheer numbers indicate, wage theft by employers is huge. And, since many employers “get away” with wage theft, this means that employers are stealing employee wages at a far greater rate than $1 billion a year. If you think your employer has underpaid you for work done, you should consult with experienced Employee Rights wage and hour attorneys like the ones at Herrmann Law.
Depending on the State where you work and live, you have many options. Claims can be made with the relevant State Labor Department or a complaint can be filed with the federal Department of Labor. As reported here, the federal Department of Labor announced plans to add 100 investigators to support its Wage and Hour Division. Investigators investigate employers and complaints filed to make sure employees are receiving their full wages and prevent worker retaliation. You may be able to sue your employer directly (and possibly the individuals that own the company for whom you work).
Wage theft by employers occurs whenever workers are not paid the wages to which they are entitled. As reported in the Forbes article, wage theft comes in many forms and through many mechanisms including:
- Paychecks repeatedly being incorrect
- Failure to pay the minimum wage or overtime
- Improper use of tips and the tip credit
- Theft of tips by management
- Unlawful tip-pooling
- Unpaid off-the-clock work at any time — but most often occurring before and after clocking in/out or during legally required meal and rest breaks
- Failure to pay overtime when required and more than 40 hours has been worked
- Improper calculation of the overtime rate
- Workers being misclassified as not entitled to overtime or as independent contractors when the worker is really an employee
- Unlawful requirements that workers pay for various things like a uniform
- Failure to reimburse for expenses
- Using legitimate deductions from a paycheck but using the wrong calculations for paying the minimum wage and overtime rate
- Failure to remit a worker’s final paycheck at all or within the time period required by State and federal labor laws
Wage theft is taken seriously and employers (and their owners) can be severely punished. As just one example, a federal court has ordered that a Massachusetts restaurant – doing business as Sweet Lemons Thai Restaurant — AND its owner pay about $345,000 in back wages and damages to thirteen workers denied overtime and earned tips. See DOL press release here.
Call the Employee Rights Attorneys at Herrmann Law Today
For more information, call the Employee Rights attorneys at Herrmann Law. If you think that your employer has violated your rights as an employee, call us. We are proven, experienced, employee-focused attorneys representing workers across the United States in all types of workplace disputes. Use our Online Contact page or call us at (817) 479-9229. We are more than just a law firm for employees – we are an employee’s fiercest advocate, equipping employees with the legal representation needed to achieve the best result possible.