Wage theft is the most prevalent of theft in the U.S. today, accounting for more lost funds than any other specific form of theft. Unfortunately, most local and even state governments have very little power that enables them to do anything to help workers get fair pay from their employers, meaning that millions of workers go without a hefty chunk of the wages owed to them.
In 2012, the U.S. Department of Labor was able to win back almost $300 million in back pay for workers. In contrast, there were $139 million in street, bank, gas station and convenience store robberies in 2012. And yet, there are still millions of dollars unrecovered due to wage theft, because employees don’t try to get it back or because they don’t know that it’s owed to them.
Employers will use all kinds of reprehensible practices to get unpaid labor out of their employees. Some will force workers to work off the clock, or they will refuse to give overtime pay, or lie about how much an employee really should be getting.
The most tragic aspect of wage theft is that it most often affects employees who need those unpaid wages just to make ends meet. Low wage employees who are required to setup, cleanup or perform other activities that are “required by the nature of the employees’ work,” according to the Fair Labor Standards Act, are not paid for their hours.
While this may be only a few minutes a day, over weeks and months it adds up. In the end, there is a large sum of money workers are entitled to but aren’t getting.
It is nearly impossible to give an accurate number of just how many earned dollars are not going to workers every year because most people don’t realize they are victims. Employers are able to fleece their way through questions regarding pay, stating that an employee didn’t actually work as many hours or that missing funds went to taxes rather than their own pocket.
If you suspect that you or a loved one has been the victim of wage theft, contact the Law Office of W. Andrew Arnold at 864-242-4800. We will work together to ensure that you get every penny you have earned.