Examples of wage theft

You work hard for your wages, and you deserve them. Unfortunately, employers sometimes engage in wage theft, by which they attempt to take some of this money back from their employees. 

It’s true that this is illegal and unethical, but it does happen. You need to know how this occurs so that you can watch for the red flags and ensure that you’re actually getting what you’re owed. Some reports claim that workers lose billions of dollars every year, so this is a significant issue. Here are several ways that wage theft is accomplished:

Not paying employees overtime

One of the most common ways that wage theft occurs is when an employer just pays you at your normal rate when you should have gotten overtime pay. They may just hope that you don’t notice, or they may claim that you don’t actually deserve overtime pay. However it happens, they’re stealing your wages.

Having employees work off the clock

In some cases, your employer may directly ask you to clock out and then keep working so that you can finish a project even though you’re no longer being paid. Or they may ask you to stay at your desk for your lunch break so that you can continue to answer the phone or work on that project while you eat.

Taking employees’ tips

If you’re making tips in your job, those tips are supposed to go to you. There are some situations in which wage pooling means you have to split them with other people working in the same job, but there should never be a situation where your employer takes tips that were left for you. 

If any of this is happens to you, you’re likely very frustrated by the wages that you’re losing. Take the time to look into all of the legal options you have at this stage.

super lawyers
New York County Lawyers Association
New York City Bar
NELA Advocates for Employee Rights National Employment Lawyers Association
lead counsel lc verified