Wage theft is nothing new. Workers in California and across the country have been involved in wage and hour claims for generations, and it seems that the problem continues. Most often, reports tell of wage theft in retail, restaurants and seasonal employment, where workers make low wages and may have reasons to avoid complaining about the unfair treatment. However, wage theft by employers is not limited to mom-and-pop businesses just getting by. In fact, some of the wealthiest corporations steal from their workers.
Giants like Walmart, JP Morgan and State Farm regularly face lawsuits because of illegal wage practices. A recent report cited various reasons why businesses that can afford to pay a fair wage continue to steal from their employees. It may be that workers do not always have the support of a union to fight for their pay, and in many areas, the laws related to fair wages are not uniformly enforced.
Wage theft can occur in many ways, such as misclassification of employees, not paying a fair wage and forcing employees to work off the clock. When a corporation saves money on labor, that money can go into the pockets of its executives. This, some believe, is enough motivation to break the law and deny a just wage to many hard-working employees.
The fines and penalties for wage theft do not seem to bother some of the large companies who have faced wage and hour claims multiple times. The report concludes that such companies are willing to take the risk, and the threat of fines does little to deter the practice. However, that does not mean a worker does not have the right to pursue justice when an employer pays an unfair wage. Seeking the guidance of a California attorney is often a prudent first step.