New report shows companies steal billions from workers every year

A new report reveals some alarming findings that all workers should be aware of.

The Economic Policy Institute (EPI), a nonprofit, non-partisan think tank that advocates for the needs of low- and middle-income workers, just released some new findings on minimum wage violations.

After studying pay practices in the 10 most-populous states, they found that 2.4 million workers in those states alone lose $8 billion annually to minimum wage violations.

That comes out to an average of $3,300 per year for year-round workers. For low-wage employees, that totals nearly a quarter of their earned wages for the year.

However, the EPI was quick to point out that wage theft affects all workers in all demographic categories.

So what is wage theft? And how can you know if it’s happening to you? Let’s discuss what you should look out for.

Wage Theft Defined

In a broad sense, wage theft refers to any actions or practices that prevent workers from receiving their legally earned or contractually promised compensation.

In other words, wage theft is when an employer illegally reduces or withholds a worker’s pay.

Wage theft can include:

  • “shorting” of hours, in which a worker is not paid for all of the hours worked
  • failure to pay time-and-a-half for overtime
  • improperly classifying workers as exempt from overtime
  • failure to provide pay in a timely and regular manner or deliberately withholding pay checks
  • making illegal pay deductions
  • forcing tipped employees to illegally turn over some or all of their tips
  • forcing employees to work off the clock

What Employees Need to Know

Keep in mind that unscrupulous employers that intentionally deprive workers of their earned wages are very likely to offer intentionally misleading explanations for paychecks that don’t add up. Don’t rely on confusing answers from your employer to justify a short paycheck.

Some employers may also threaten workers’ jobs if they complain. This practice may constitute unlawful retaliation.

It’s important to know that both federal and state laws offer protection from unlawful compensation practices. Philadelphia also offers protection from wage theft for people who work in the city.

Contact Us for a Free Consultation

If you believe that you’ve been unlawfully denied compensation, it’s a good idea to speak to an attorney.

Email us at murphy@phillyemploymentlawyer.com, or call (267) 273-1054 for a free consultation.