12/10/2013 // Keller Grover LLP (Press Release) // Keller Grover // (press release)
Can you guess who is robbed more than gas stations, banks, and convenience stores combined? To your surprise, the answer is low-wage workers; and the thief is right under their nose—their employers, reports Los Angeles employment Lawyer Eric Grover of Keller Grover LLP.
A study by the Economic Policy Institute is finally shedding light on the truth behind the rampant problem of wage theft in the U.S. Wage theft in the U.S. accounted for $185 million in losses in 2008, which is more than the money lost in bank, gas station and convenience store thefts combined, the most recent data from the Justice and Labor Department revealed.
“The country suffers an epidemic of wage theft, as large numbers of employers violate minimum-wage, overtime, and other wage and hour laws with virtual impunity,” University of Oregon economist Gordon Lafer revealed in the report.
A 2009 survey also showed that employers illegally withheld portions of 60 percent of low-wage workers’ paychecks each pay period. In fact, many low-wage workers are losing 15 percent of their income as a result.
“For workers who are barely getting by, or still need assistance from the government to supplement their pay, an extra 15 percent added to their check that was otherwise illegally taken would make the world of difference to them,” explains Grover, a Los Angeles employment lawyer. “Unfortunately, the fear of losing what little pay they are getting trumps the ability to speak out and blow the whistle on their employer.”
But the true root of the problem is a lack of regulation and oversight. The study pointed out that in 2008, there was only one workplace inspector for every 141,000 workers nationwide, which means employers have a 0.001 percent chance of being investigated each year. For many employers, the slim chance of being investigated isn’t enough to deter them from participating in illegal business activates.
“Until the federal government gets serious about cracking down on wage theft, low-wage workers are going to continue to endure this abuse,” explains Grover. “There are resources available to employees to get the help they need to recover their stolen wages. Contacting an employment attorney to fight for your rights is one way to do that.”
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