Wage theft occurs when employees are denied their rightful compensation for hours worked. And although workers can pursue federal remedies for unpaid hours, their complaints may fall outside of federal laws, and there is no guarantee the employers will pay up even when ordered to do so. Seeking relief in the courts can be a financial risk. That’s why local governments are adopting wage-theft ordinances that provide a simpler way for workers to pursue claims.
Wage theft occurs when employees are told to work before or after clocking in for the day, when they are denied time-and-a-half for overtime hours, when they are denied tips or a final paycheck, or are expected to work shifts without breaks, as required by law.
Low-wage earners are more likely to be victimized and, at the same time, more likely to be reluctant to challenge their employer for fear of losing a job. Day laborers, hotel and restaurant workers, or construction and lawn care workers, are among the occupations more likely to be at risk for working uncompensated hours. They are less likely to have the means to challenge their employer through the federal Department of Labor, which does not cover most local jobs and has 72 inspectors to handle wage theft complaints in the entire state.
Cheating workers out of their rightful pay does not just hurt the employees, but penalizes conscientious businesses.
Source: Tampa Tribune