The Chicago-based lawyers at Markoff Leinberger who monitor unfair business practices and overtime violations want our clients as well as the public at large to be aware of an increasingly-common yet illegal labor-relations practice: Wage Theft.
The simple explanation of wage theft is the systematic withholding of employee wages or benefits. The reality of these cases is often much less black-and-white and requires the diligence and expertise of a skilled attorney.
If you believe that you have been unfairly denied employment wages or benefits that are owed to you and which may include overtime violations, please contact the fraud lawyers at Markoff Leinberger online or call 1-877-905-5161 to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced consumer rights attorneys.
Recognizing Wage Theft
The most frequent examples of wage theft include:
- Non-payment for total hours worked
- Non-payment for overtime hours worked
- Failing to pay minimum wage
- Failing to pay a contractual salary
- Withholding an employee’s final paycheck
How Does Wage Theft Happen?
Groups that study this issue report that wage theft is a nationwide problem that touches workers at every income level. However industries without labor unions, and lower-wage transient occupations, tend to be the most effected by illegal labor practices such as wage theft or overtime violations.
Five industries in which wage theft has been commonly recorded include:
- Poultry processing
- Home healthcare
How Are Workers Affected by Wage Theft?
Here are two real-world examples of employers that illegally withheld wages or benefits, which constitutes wage theft in the eyes of the law.
Wage Theft Case Study No. 1: In late 2005, an African-American man in Atlanta agreed to work for a company that was contributing to the Hurricane Katrina clean-up effort in New Orleans. The job promised free room-and-board plus an hourly wage. In reality, this worker received no food nor accommodations after he arrived in New Orleans for the job. It also took weeks for his employer to provide him with the health and safety equipment that was adequate for the toxic cleaning work he was doing. The man was ultimately paid much less than he was promised when he was hired, and found this practice rampant among Hurricane Katrina clean-up companies.
Wage Theft Case Study No. 2: A Polish woman immigrated to Chicago in 2000. She took a job in a car wash, where she reported the majority of the workers were similarly-recent immigrants. She quickly learned that wages at the car wash were below minimum wage, and that Spanish-speaking employees often made the lowest of the low. The company also required employees to pay out-of-pocket for basic work necessities such as clean uniforms. And because this particular company wanted to avoid paying overtime, instead of scheduling a single worker for 40 or more hours at a single location, management would split the worker’s hours between multiple car washes.
Common Examples of Wage Theft
We've put together this slideshow of some of the most common ways that employers perpetrate wage theft and overtime violations to help you see if you may have been a victim. Take a look, and if any of these circumstances seem familiar to you, give us a call for your free legal consultation.
Contact Us Today
If you believe that you have been unfairly and perhaps systematically denied employment wages or benefits that are owed to you and which may include overtime violations, please contact Markoff Leinberger online or call us to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced consumer rights attorneys.