Wage theft by employers costs workers millions each year | Katz Melinger PLLC
Katz Melinger PLLC
Free Initial Phone Consultation
212-460-0047
Menu Contact
Free Initial Phone Consultation
212-460-0047
Proactive. Pragmatic.
Committed To Obtaining Results.

Wage theft by employers costs workers millions each year

AdobeStock_222693885.jpeg

It can seem minor at the time. Maybe your employer insists you do prep work off the clock. Perhaps you're told you're not eligible for overtime pay, even though you worked more than 40 hours that week. Or maybe a new manager took over and now your share of the tips seems a bit smaller than before. The difference between your rightful pay and what you actually receive may seem relatively insignificant; not worth the risk of complaining.

The situations above are examples of wage theft, which is illegal.

How big of a problem is it? It's impossible to know for certain, because only a minority of victims report wage theft. In 2012, however, state and federal agencies recovered at least $933 million for wage theft victims. By comparison, all the robberies committed that year combined for $341 million in stolen money.

According to the nonpartisan Economic Policy Institute, that $933 million in recoveries is probably the mere tip of a massive iceberg. A study of New York, Chicago and Los Angeles indicates that, in any given week, two-thirds of workers in low-wage industries experience pay-related violations. For workers earning $17,616 a year, the average amount lost annually to wage theft was estimated to be $2,634. Assuming a national estimate can be extrapolated from the three-city study, American workers are losing more than $50 billion a year to employer theft.

New York restaurant case illustrates the problem

In just one example, immigrant busboys at an upscale Manhattan restaurant called Veranda were earning no wages whatsoever for their work, but were subsisting on their share of pooled tips. When a manager began overseeing the distribution of those tips, however, he illegally took a share for himself, reducing the busboys' compensation even more. They complained to the New York Attorney General's Office, which filed suit.

The restaurant owner then tried to intimidate the busboys by requesting their immigrant worker authorizations. He subsequently cut their hours and ultimately fired them in retaliation. When the case was settled, Veranda agreed to pay each of the busboys $25,000 in restitution, and to pay 23 other workers a total of $150,000.

While an individual instance of wage theft may seem minor, the losses can add up quickly.

Want more timely employment law updates? Sign up for our newsletter.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Email Us For A Response

Schedule Your Consultation Today

To begin protecting your legal rights and financial interests, schedule an initial consultation. We clearly communicate your legal options in an honest manner.

Contact Katz Melinger PLLC at 212-460-0047 or reach us by filling out the form below.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Office Address

Katz Melinger PLLC
280 Madison Avenue
Suite 600
New York, NY 10016

Phone: 212-460-0047
Fax: 212-428-6811
New York Employment Law Office

Review Us
CLOSE WINDOW  X

Can we help you find a topic?