The Largest Theft That No one Is Speaking About

At a time when billionaire extraordinaire Elon Musk is dominating headlines along with his multi-billion-dollar shopping for spree, there’s one other story price billions that’s curiously absent from our Twitter feeds. Sadly, moderately than recount the spending of riches, this story tells the story of one of many biggest thefts in American historical past.

Each hour, thousands and thousands of staff all through the US undergo from one of the crucial insidious crimes that no one is speaking about: Wage theft. Final December, the Financial Coverage Institute (“EPI”) reported that over $3 billion in stolen wages was recovered for staff between 2017 and 2020. Nonetheless, these wages had been recovered solely after staff found the theft and reported it – in actuality, the quantity in wages employers steal from their staff is way, a lot increased. For instance, the EPI has estimated that staff throughout the nation are topic to over $15 billion in stolen wages every year for minimal wage violations alone.

Whereas it may be arduous to imagine, wage theft is prevalent all over the place, even within the largest and richest workplaces in America. Whether or not you’re employed within the C-suite or nook grocery retailer, it’s price asking your self a easy query: Am I being paid accurately?

Examples of Wage Theft

Wage theft is available in many shapes, sizes, and class. There are lots of ways and strategies that employers use which can be merely not straightforward to detect by staff. Examples of wage theft can embrace:

  1. Working “off the clock” or not being paid forever labored;
  2. Unlawful deductions from wages, wage, commissions, or different pay;
  3. Improperly altering timesheets, placing time, or docking pay;
  4. Time clock rounding or “time shaving” that isn’t impartial and disfavors the worker;
  5. Not being compensated at the very least the minimal wage for all hours labored;
  6. Being misclassified as extra time exempt;
  7. Working via meal breaks which can be robotically deducted from staff’ time;
  8. Being misclassified as an impartial contractor;
  9. Not receiving a closing paycheck after separation from the employer;
  10. Not receiving agreed-upon wages;
  11. Not receiving wages in a well timed method;
  12. Tip-sharing and tip-pooling violations;
  13. Failure to pay for time spent donning and doffing gear and tools;
  14. Failing to pay for journey time throughout regular work hours; and
  15. Not paying for distant work.

These are simply among the many strategies employers can use to steal wages from their staff. After all, whether or not an employer has violated the legislation is usually a posh authorized query requiring evaluation of varied federal, state, and native legal guidelines.

Legal guidelines Prohibiting Wage Theft

Fortunately, staff typically do have recourse if they’re victims of wage theft. Relying on the potential violation, many alternative legal guidelines may very well be implicated. 

For instance, the Honest Labor Requirements Act (“FLSA”) gives that nonexempt staff are entitled to extra time pay of 1 and one-half occasions their common fee of pay after surpassing 40 hours of labor every workweek. Moreover, minimal wage tips are set by federal, state, and generally even native governments. Importantly, in case your state or native authorities has set a minimal wage increased than that of the federal minimal wage, your employer is required to pay whichever is the best. Some states and jurisdictions have even set extra favorable extra time necessities than what’s supplied within the FLSA.

After all, as mentioned above, wage theft doesn’t simply implicate minimal wage and extra time violations. It could additionally happen when staff aren’t paid for his or her whole hours labored, are topic to unlawful deductions from pay, or are having their timesheets illegally altered via varied time rounding or automated time deduction insurance policies. There are lots of federal, state, and native legal guidelines and laws which could prohibit these practices. For a extra detailed overview of wage theft legal guidelines within the DMV space, please see our DMV Survey Collection: Wage Theft Version, positioned right here.


Wage theft leads to billions being stolen from the paychecks of staff every year. It impacts thousands and thousands of staff in workplaces throughout the nation. It could occur in factories, retail shops, excessive rise workplace buildings, and even from the consolation of your private home. Merely, it doesn’t matter how a lot cash a employee is paid – staff in any respect ranges, in all industries, and in each tax bracket are inclined to wage theft.

Should you suppose chances are you’ll be a sufferer of wage theft, it can be crucial so that you can seek the advice of with a talented wage and hour lawyer to correctly decide if any legal guidelines have been violated and when you could also be entitled to reduction. Relying on the violation, chances are you’ll be entitled to substantial damages, together with fee for wages owed, liquidated damages in an equal quantity, curiosity, and/or attorneys’ charges and prices.

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