February 27, 2020
Generally speaking, wage theft refers to the situation in which an employee does not receive their legally or contractually promised wages. Many people falsely assume that this term only applies to the egregious practice of withholding paychecks. In reality, wage theft can refer to the failure to pay overtime, failure to pay for all of the hours a laborer worked, failure to provide a final paycheck when an employee leaves a job, and failure to pay minimum wage. This lack of understanding of the breadth of wage theft contributes to it being a largely under-reported crime.
Many employers are quick to set up a culture in which they make their employees feel lucky to have a job. They discourage a lot of push-back on their management by implying that failure to get along can and will result in termination. Many victims of wage theft choose not to report the crime because they do not want to put their employment in jeopardy. Industries with high turn-over rates have the most reported cases of wage theft. Those industries include but are not limited to agriculture, food processing, janitorial, restaurants & food service, long term care, home health care, and retail.
The best way to avoid being a victim of wage theft is to understand what it is and to recognize when it is occuring. According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), workers are entitled to federal minimum wage and requires employers to pay time and a half for every weekly hour worked over 40. Do not let your employer get away with forcing underpaid overtime or underpayment in general. If you suspect that you are not being fully compensated for the time you spend working, then call us to discuss your situation. You are likely a victim of wage theft. We can help you to make things right.