Lower Wage Workers at Higher Risk
Is it shocking that Corporate America is caught stealing?
It's a reality. Corporate America is stealing from the employees that help them generate billions in revenue every year. It's called “wage theft” and it's when employers fail to pay employees all their legally entitled wages. This financial reality impacts all employees, across all workplaces, in all states across the country. However, as one might expect, wage theft impacts young workers, women, people of color, and immigrant workers most dramatically.
“Wage theft is the rule, not the exception, for low-wage workers,” said Michael Hollander, a staff attorney at Community Legal Services of Philadelphia. “Low-income workers are already in this fragile balance,” concurred Victor Narro of the UCLA Labor Center speaking in the same Politico report. “One paycheck of not being able to get the wages they're owed can cause them to lose everything.”
Clearly, wage theft is a MASSIVE PROBLEM in the ten most populated states in the union, as reported by the Economic Policy Institute:
- Workers in all demographic categories are being cheated out of pay
- 17% of all low-wage workers are victims of wage theft
- Wage theft, like minimum wage violations, affects at least 2.4 million workers
- These workers lose $8 billion annually to wage theft (involving a variety of wage and hour violations)
- Wage theft costs these workers on average $3,300 per year in wage violations
Employers are paying out millions of dollars in “wage theft” settlements
According to Good Jobs First, some of the most penalized corporations include:
- Walmart – $1.4 billion in total wage theft settlements
- FedEx – $502 million in total wage theft settlements
- Bank of America – $381 million in total wage theft settlements
- Wells Fargo – $205 million in total wage theft settlements
- JPMorgan Chase – $160 million in total wage theft settlements
- State Farm Insurance – $140 million in total wage theft settlements
Remember, it's not always the huge companies
Recently, the Brooklyn District Attorney along with the New York City Department of Investigation, announced that a Brooklyn construction company pleaded guilty to second-degree grand larceny for underpaying and committing wage theft against twenty-one employees. Let's walk through the elements of this specific case:
- According to the New York Daily News, the Brooklyn District Attorney stated that the affected workers were all immigrants.
- According to the filing, the Brooklyn construction company falsely certified that it paid these workers at prevailing wage rates ($62 to $63 per hour). In reality, the Brooklyn construction company only paid between $10 and $17 per hour and with no overtime or benefits
- At the end of the day, the Brooklyn construction company ended up owing the workers more than $230,000 in restitution.
Do you suspect that you're the victim of wage theft? If so, act now.
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