When most people think about common types of theft, they think of bank robberies or home invasions. They assume that physical assets or financial assets are simply being stolen by individuals in one-time events.
But the truth is that some studies have labeled wage theft as the most common type of theft in the United States. This is something that happens on a consistent basis, and a lot of employees don’t even know that they’re being taken advantage of. It’s important to understand different ways that this can happen. Here are a few:
Neglecting to pay overtime
One way that employers do this is by paying your overtime rate at the same rate as your standard wage. You’re supposed to get time-and-a-half, but some employers claim they don’t have to pay it – incorrectly – or simply hope that employees don’t notice the difference in rates.
In some cases, employers will also have a policy that tips that are earned by the employee actually belong to the business. Another way they take tips is by creating a tip pool and cutting themselves in. Both of these things are illegal.
Keeping a final check
When an employee quits, they may still be entitled to compensation for hours that they’ve already worked. But the employer may be frustrated that the employee is leaving, especially if they didn’t give them two weeks’ notice. The employer may try to use that as justification to keep the final check, even though at-will employees are not required to give two weeks’ notice in the first place. An employer who does this may simply hope that the employee will let it go as they move on to the next job, but they are still stealing those wages.
If something like this has happened to you, it’s very important to know what legal options you have.