Report: Employers Stole More Than $2 Billion from Workers in Last Two Years
Low-wage workers are particularly at risk
You read that headline right. Two billion.
It’s a staggering number—and it’s the amount of money
the Department of Labor and various states have recovered from unscrupulous
employers that got caught with their hands in their workers’ wallets
over the last two years.
However, that’s only part of the story. The actual figure may be
The real numbers are anyone’s guess
The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) just issued a
report that examines wage theft in the United States. That agency concludes that
the actual cost of wage theft is around $50 billion every year.
Why the discrepancy in numbers? The EPI points out that many cases of wage
theft go unreported, because people don’t know their rights or fear
that they’ll lose their jobs in they complain.
What’s even worse is that low-wage employees are often the most vulnerable
to wage theft.
As the EPI report states:
Consider a full-time minimum wage worker earning the federal minimum wage
of $7.25 an hour, around $15,000 per year. If this worker’s employer
asks her to work 15 minutes “off the clock” before and after
her 8-hour shift each day, that extra half hour of unpaid work each day
represents a loss to the worker (and a gain to the employer) of around
$1,400 per year, including the overtime premiums she should have been
paid. This constitutes theft of nearly 10 percent of a minimum wage employee’s
annual earnings—which can mean the difference between paying the
rent and utilities or risking eviction or the loss of gas, water, or electric service.
What does wage theft look like?
If you believe that your employee hasn’t paid you what you’re
owed, you may have been a victim of wage theft.
Do any of these scenarios sound familiar?
Your pay was docked for a lunch break that you never got to take.
You didn’t get overtime for working more than 40 hours in a work
week. When you ask about it, your boss uses a complicated calculation
to add up your hours.
You’re classified as exempt even though most of your duties are similar
to hourly workers who are eligible for overtime.
You’re asked to show up early to prep a work area but you’re
not paid for that time, or you’re asked to continue working after
you clock out.
You can’t find your manager on pay day … or your checks are
consistently late … or your checks frequently bounce.
Your check contains unexpected deductions.
If any of these things have happened to you, you may have been a victim
of wage theft.
Contact us now
Remember, employees in any industry may be affected by unlawful pay practices.
If you believe that you’ve been the victim of wage theft, it’s
a good idea to speak to an attorney to find out about your rights.
Call or email us today to discuss your unique situation.