What Constitutes Wage Theft?

July 27, 2017

What Constitutes Wage Theft?

In 2015, a class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of some Jimmy John’s assistant store managers who worked more than 40 hours per week but were not paid overtime. The lawsuit, first filed in Ohio and later transferred to Illinois, concerns a practice commonly known as wage theft, which appears to be running rampant throughout the U.S.

A 2009 survey conducted by the National Employment Law Project found that more than 60 percent of 4,500 low-wage workers in Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago routinely had pay illegally withheld from them each week, accounting for an annual average of $2,634 in unpaid wages.Money in env

 What is Wage Theft?

 Wage theft is the practice of failing to pay employees their lawful wages and benefits. Those who are the least able to afford wage theft are often the victims of it: minimum or low wage earners as well as immigrants. Although not all wage theft is done intentionally, many employers have a general disregard for federal wage laws and are repeat offenders.

 Some common examples of wage theft include:

 Not compensating a worker for time spent preparing a workstation at the beginning of a shift.

  • Requiring an employee to clean up and close at the end of a shift, but not paying them for fulfilling these responsibilities.
  • Misclassifying hourly employees as salaried managers (but not changing their duties) to avoid paying overtime.
  • Illegally categorizing employees as independent contractors to avoid paying minimum wages and overtime to them.
  • Ordering employees to work through their breaks in violation of federal labor law.

 Many employees accept these illegal pay practices as a regular condition of their employment and are reluctant to complain, sometimes out of fear of retaliation or because they lack evidence or resources. Trade workers in some industries are afraid of being blacklisted and unable to find another job in their industry.

 If you have been the victim of wage theft, contact Murray & Murray online or call one of our employment law attorneys at 419-624-3000 (toll free 1-800-624-3009) to schedule your free initial consultation today.

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