No matter where you work, you deserve to get paid for the hours you put in or by another fair metric such as an agreed-upon salary. Anytime your employer cheats you out of just compensation you have a right to pursue the lost wages through legal channels.
Despite abundant laws to protect workers, companies still find ways to avoid paying the correct amount to employees.
Employers cheat low-pay workers
The Chicago Tribune cites information that shows in 2019 about 8,500 companies cheated workers out of wages totaling $287 million. This practice becomes more common in difficult economic times such as recessions and often impacts low-wage workers the most. Employers use many methods to pay workers less than the law requires:
- Refuse to pay minimum wage
- Make employees work off the clock
- Avoid honoring overtime pay
- Refuse to pay workers at all
Many offenses come from large companies that Americans do business with regularly. Companies mentioned in the article include Halliburton, G4S Wackenhut and Circle-K stores.
Wage theft remains pervasive
If you have suffered from wage theft, you belong to a large group. Some studies indicate U.S. workers collectively lose $15 billion a year from lost wages at the hands of dishonest companies. Sometimes the reason behind a failure to pay workers comes down to cynical economics: companies decide that violating fair labor practices costs less than paying employees.
Even if an agency investigates your claim, you might meet with less than stellar success. The Labor Department’s Wage and Hours Division often lets companies get away without paying either back wages or penalty money to workers. Many workers fail to file complaints due to fear of retaliation from employers.