Both New York and California are among the US states that have enacted laws against wage theft, threatening stringent punishments and dire consequences. However, a recent study of 2011 workforce data for the two states, done by the Department of Labor (DOL), has turned up the fact that between 3.5 and 6.5 percent of all the wage and salary workers in California and New York are being paid less than the minimum wage!
That works out to more than 600,000 workers suffering minimum wage violations in these two states, amounting to a weekly loss of wages totaling to nearly $20 million in New York and $29 million in California. The DOL estimates that a similar violation rate in the other states (though none of them have such stringent state-level laws against FLSA violations involving wage theft) would mean that at least 2 million workers across the nation are being paid wages lower than the minimum federal or state wages. Which leads workers to cry: Stop, thief!
The following facts stand testimony to the significant erosion of labor standards and FLSA compliance.
What are the established legal standards require of an employer? Check them out.
The DOL has initiated action against such violators.
Even McDonald’s came under the microscope when an employee, Ms. Salazar, pointed out how her paychecks repeatedly missed a few hours of work time and cheated her of overtime pay, sometimes bringing her overall pay below the minimum wage. Tyson, Target and Walmart are a few other big names (among others) that have been sullied by accusations and lawsuits that accuse them of wage violations, laying them open to FLSA penalties.
Deliberately violating wage laws (whether federal or state) to save on employee costs is a very short-sighted business strategy that will only prove more expensive in the long run and threaten the very survival of the business.
For the right kind of business, that’s not an option that can be considered even remotely. The increasing use of social media for providing anonymous feedback on an erring employer could seriously hurt their brand image as an employer, leaving their open positions forever open…or filled by monkeys which are happy to be paid in food!
Have you seen instances of FLSA Violations at your company?
An old comedian, George Carlin (deceased), had a skit on convoluted words. This reminds me of that skit. If a company steals from an individual by not paying their wages it’s “wage theft;” whereas if a person steals from a company it’s “embezzlement.”
Not only that – the company caught stealing must give the person back pay and may receive a hefty fine, while the person caught stealing must repay the company and has a good chance of going to prison.
Interesting how that works out.
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