BY DONNA WESTFALL CREDIT TO MARC FIFSHER, LOS ANGELES TIMES
Last year, two Los Angeles City Councilmen proposed a motion to draft a wage theft ordinance which would criminalize wage theft and increase penalties and fines on employers who unfairly cheat their employees out of pay. Workers, business owners, and community groups will share their experiences.
What is wage theft? It’s when employers don’t pay their workers a day’s wages for a day’s work.
WHY: Los Angeles is the wage theft capital of the nation. Every week workers lose $26.2 million in wage theft violations, the highest of any other major city in the country. Yet, Los Angeles is behind the curve in legislation. Other major cities, including Houston, Chicago, and Seattle have passed city ordinances to hold unscrupulous employers accountable. Wage theft is an illegal practice of not paying workers for all of their work including; violating minimum wage laws, not paying overtime, forcing workers to work off the clock, and much more.
In October, ‘2014, John Chiang, California Controller, working with the state labor commissioner, is demanding restitution from suspected violators — and filing lawsuits, if necessary — under California’s Unclaimed Property Law by using a 55-year-old statute to compel immediate payment from unscrupulous businesses that have fleeced their employees of earned wages for years. John Chiang took office as State Treasurer in 2015.
What is the underground economy? This involves cash payments for goods, services and labor that deprives the state and local governments of an estimated $7 billion a year in tax revenue, according to 2011 legislative research report.
How to prevent wage theft? Employees should keep records of their hours and compare them to their pay. If there’s a consistent discrepancy, you are the victim of wage theft. At that point, your options are to contact the Labor Board but be aware that for every successful case, four more workers hold court orders who won’t see a dime.
One thought on “What is Wage Theft?”
An ordinance does not need to be developed because labor laws exist for wage theft. Under labor law codes if you receive cash or a check without appropriate itemized wage deduction statement this is a violation of law where the IRS and labor department will conduct an investigation by the reporting party. If you are working for someone and not getting your breaks or off duty meal times, the employer is in violation. If the employer does not have a fixed pay date or is late with the payment of wages; violation. if the employer fails to “post” applicable industrial welfare commission orders, or minimum wage order of 2001 or later, or fail to post pay days, or does not carry workers compensation insurance and it is not posted; Violation.
Rate of compensation not posted for farm workers only; VIOLATION OF LABOR LAWS. Failure to keep time records or not kept and inaccurate; VIOLATION. No notice to new hires under labor code section 2810.5; VIOLATION. There are more labor laws for the public then you can shake a stick at… no ordinance is needed, just educate the public what their rights are.