Wage Theft Is Rampant in Los Angeles, New Research Shows
A Los Angeles public radio station, KCRW, recently investigated wage theft in Los Angeles, and the report is startling. Researchers estimated $26,000,000 is stolen each week from workers in Los Angeles alone. The Department of Labor estimated that 84% of restaurants violate meal and rest break laws. Workers in Los Angeles would be wise to know their rights and seek help from an attorney if they think that they are victims of wage theft.
What is Wage Theft?
“Wage Theft” is when an employer doesn’t pay an employee everything that they owe. The most common types of wage theft are:
- paying below the minimum wage;
- not paying overtime;
- not providing meal or rest breaks;
- requiring an employee to work “off the clock”;
- withholding wages; OR
- simply not paying an employee for some of the hours worked.
Industries Vulnerable to Wage Theft
Wage theft occurs in every industry, every day. However, some industries are traditionally more vulnerable. Car washes, restaurants, agriculture, and construction are some of the industries reported on by KCRW. According to KCRW, wage theft in the restaurant industry was particularly bad. “Back of the house” employees, such as cooks and dishwashers are some of the employees who are most likely to suffer wage theft.
Undocumented Workers and Low Wage Workers Vulnerable to Wage Theft
Undocumented workers are especially vulnerable to wage theft. Many undocumented workers fear that if they report or complain about wage theft, that their employer will retaliate against them by firing them or by reporting them to immigration authorities. Similarly, low wage workers may be less likely to report wage theft because they rely on their income to provide for their families.
Help Yourself and Help Others
If you or someone you know is a victim of wage theft, you should speak with an experienced employment attorney today. You may be entitled to the wages that you are owed, plus additional money for penalties and fees. When you take action to stop wage theft, it can set an example to your employer, which can help prevent your coworkers from suffering continuing wage theft. Our attorneys offer free consultations and are standing by to speak with you. Click here to contact us, or call (213) 631 – 4275.
Can My Employer Fire or Report Me to Immigration For Reporting Wage Theft?
It is illegal for your employer to fire you or to take action against you for reporting wage theft. If your employer does try to fire you, report you to immigration officials, or retaliate against you, you may be entitled to even more money. However, you should speak with an attorney to determine the possible consequences of reporting wage theft. Employers often threaten undocumented workers if they complain about wages. But, if every employee remains silent, these injustices will continue.