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The Largest Theft That No one Is Speaking About

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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, fairly than recount the spending of riches, this story tells the story of one of many biggest thefts in American historical past.

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

Whereas it is likely to be laborious to consider, wage theft is prevalent in all places, 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?

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Examples of Wage Theft

Wage theft is available in many shapes, sizes, and class. There are various ways and strategies that employers use which might be merely not simple 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’s not impartial and disfavors the worker;
  5. Not being compensated at the very least the minimal wage for all hours labored;
  6. Being misclassified as time beyond regulation exempt;
  7. Working by meal breaks which might be mechanically deducted from staff’ time;
  8. Being misclassified as an unbiased contractor;
  9. Not receiving a last 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 regulation is typically a posh authorized query requiring evaluation of varied federal, state, and native legal guidelines.

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Legal guidelines Prohibiting Wage Theft

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

For instance, the Truthful Labor Requirements Act (“FLSA”) offers that nonexempt staff are entitled to time beyond regulation 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 larger 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 time beyond regulation necessities than what’s offered within the FLSA.

After all, as mentioned above, wage theft doesn’t simply implicate minimal wage and time beyond regulation violations. It may additionally happen when staff usually are not paid for his or her complete hours labored, are topic to unlawful deductions from pay, or are having their timesheets illegally altered by varied time rounding or automated time deduction insurance policies. There are various 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 Sequence: Wage Theft Version, positioned right here.

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Conclusion

Wage theft ends in billions being stolen from the paychecks of employees every year. It impacts tens of millions of staff in workplaces throughout the nation. It may occur in factories, retail shops, excessive rise workplace buildings, and even from the consolation of your house. 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 prone to wage theft.

For those who suppose it’s possible you’ll be a sufferer of wage theft, it will be significant 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 for those who could also be entitled to reduction. Relying on the violation, it’s possible 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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