Wage Theft: a Multi-Billion-Dollar-A-Year Industry
We've all experienced and/or heard about these petty sleazy tactics:
A supervisor tells a subordinate “Hey, before you clock in, you wanna grab one end of that crate?”
An employee is given an ironclad deadline to finish a project, and the employee doesn't have enough scheduled hours to possibly meet this deadline. The worker can either be disciplined for failing to meet the deadline, OR he/she can meet the deadline by working some unpaid overtime.
Employees are required to wear a uniform. These uniforms are not provided by the employer.
These are three examples of wage theft. According to a study by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), low-wage workers in the U.S. are being robbed of $50 billion a year by unscrupulous employers. That was not a typo. $50 billion every year — stolen from those who can least afford it.
The three above examples of wage theft are all illegal under the Federal Labor Standards Act. Some states and cities are trying to provide stricter enforcement of the Federal Labor Standards Act by giving more resources to investigators and making it easier for workers to file their complaints.
The EPI wants to provide stricter enforcement at the federal level, but that seems unlikely at the moment.