Laws generally require employers to pay fair compensation to their employees for time the latter spent working. Unfortunately, there are some employers who fail to meet this obligation, even going as far as to commit wage theft.
What is wage theft?
Wage theft occurs when employers withhold salary and other benefits, such as breaks and overtime pay, that their employees deserve. Employers might commit wage theft for different reasons. Some might not understand the circumstances that qualify as wage theft and do it unintentionally, while others do it to save money. Whatever the case, the practice is against the law.
What qualifies as wage theft?
Some instances of wage theft are not as blatant as others. Here are some examples.
- Refusing to pay minimum wage
- Asking employees to work a few extra minutes without pay
- Misclassifying workers as exempt or nonexempt
- Refusing to pay appropriate overtime pay
- Requiring employees to make work-related purchases without reimbursement
- Reducing lunch break durations
There are also employers who fail to explain the benefits their employees are entitled to, preventing workers from knowing their rights or using said benefits.
What can workers do about wage theft?
Employers generally owe all wages and benefits they withhold to their employees. Workers who suspect wage theft may file a claim with the appropriate authorities.
That said, labor laws are complex. A labor law attorney can help navigate legal challenges and build a case against erring employers. This way, an attorney’s assistance can help protect employees’ rights and better ensure they get the compensation they deserve.