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Wage theft from workers leads to disputes across the country

New York workers may be interested in an article about recent wage disputes in the U.S. According to reports, a number of lawsuits have alleged that employees are not being properly paid for hours that they are working.

Across the country, lawsuits are being filed by both workers and government officials over what some call "wage theft." The term is used to describe the actions of an employer that allegedly refuses to pay overtime, records inaccurate hours and withholds employees' gratuities. In New York, the attorney general has recovered $17 million for employees in the last three years. In California, there are multiple lawsuits, including one against a trucking company that netted a $21 million settlement for unpaid hours.

Another California case involved a company that forced janitorial workers to sign time sheets that were blank. The employer would then allocate hours to the workers in a way that minimized their wages. The state labor commissioner recovered over $300,000 for the workers in that case. She says that this is not just a problem affecting minimum wage workers, suggesting that it is hurting those workers in the middle class as well. One representative from the U.S. government's Labor Department attributes these disputes to a combination of poor treatment of workers, changes in the basic structure of businesses toward a more contractor-focused model and shifting attitudes.

When an employee is denied their rightful wages, an attorney may be able to help by examining the evidence of denied overtime or breaks and determining whether the employer is in violation of the law. The attorney may then bring administrative or legal actions in these wage disputes.

Source: Madame Noire, "Don't steal from me! More victims say they are victims of 'wage theft'", Ann Brown, September 03, 2014

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