An alarming report by The Wage Authority Group shows that wage theft continues to be a major problem plaguing millions of hardworking Americans who struggle to survive on low wages, often without benefits like paid sick leave or health insurance.
“Unfortunately, these workers’ lives are often made significantly harder when they work for employers who fail to properly compensate them for the hours worked by illegally taking paycheck deductions, forcing them to work off the books, etc.,” stated Jason Thompson, an attorney from The Wage Authority Group.
According to the law firm’s recent report, all of the robberies, burglaries, larcenies, and motor vehicles thefts in the nation cost their victims less than $14 billion in 2012. That is only a third of the estimated cost of wage theft nationwide.
“The prevalence of wage theft in our country is shameful. No employer has the right to cheat workers out of their hard-earned money,” stated Jason Thompson. “Every working person deserves to be paid fairly and fully for their labor.”
In 2012, Federal and State Departments of labor and lawyers recovered at least $933 million in wages, which is less than 2 percent of the amount estimated stolen. Sadly, 83% of workers who win their wage theft case never see a dime.
“More often than not, women, immigrants and people of color are typically hit hardest by wage theft as our report reveals,” stated Jason Thompson. “At the end of the day, stealing the pay of workers—no matter who they are—is morally wrong. It’s food off their tables and makes it extremely challenging for them to provide for their families.”
A three-city (NY, Chicago and Los Angeles) study of workers in low-wage industries found that in any given week, two-thirds experienced at least one pay-related violation. The vast majority of wage theft violations in Los Angeles – NEARLY 55% – are due to failure to pay minimum wage.
“When a business fails to abide by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) as well as state and local employment statutes, they risk some pretty big penalties and can be forced to pay some hefty fines,” stated Jason Thompson.
For companies that violate the FLSA or state and local employment laws, workers also have the right to sue for unpaid overtime and other compensation. This can often be done as a class action lawsuit, where workers take collective action against their employer. If you believe you have been a victim of wage theft, find out how The Wage Authority Group can help you today at www.owedunpaidwages.com.
To view the firm’s interactive wage theft report in its entirety, click here.