Reports and lawsuits related to employers' failure to pay workers due compensation have increased significantly in recent years. According to David Weil, who directs the wage and hour division of the federal Labor Department, his division has discovered close to $1 billion in unpaid wages owed to workers since 2010. Weil went on to point out that many of the workers who are victimized are immigrants.
Wage theft occurs in a variety of ways. Some employers simply erase employees' work hours; other employers have workers put in overtime and never pay them the required time-and-a-half rate; and in the restaurant industry, some employers find ways to steal workers' tips.
If your employer has failed to pay you what you are owed, and no matter what your immigration status is, you have a right to hold the employer accountable.
Just recently in California, a federal court found that FedEx had misclassified its drivers as independent contractors instead of employees, effectively denying the drivers their due compensation. The ruling against FedEx could have repercussions throughout the motor carrier industry.
In another recent case, warehouse workers sued Schneider, a trucking company, for back pay. One man who recently joined the lawsuit said that he often worked 70 hours in a single week, but the company never paid him at the required rate of time-and-a-half. Now he expects to receive back pay of more than $20,000.
Employers who intentionally misclassify employees and fail to pay due wages are breaking the law. To learn more about your rights as an employee, please visit our Wage & Hour Claims overview.
Source: The New York Times, "More Workers Are Claiming 'Wage Theft'," Steven Greenhouse, Aug. 31, 2014