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Employee rights under siege as wage theft cases increase

For many New Yorkers, receiving a well-deserved paycheck after working is nothing less than satisfying. However, that feeling can easily turn to confusion and eventually anger upon realizing that the salary one has received is insufficient. Unfortunately, a recent report indicates that the number of wage thefts is growing across the United States.

According to the New York Times, the number of employees who are filing legal action against their employers for unpaid overtime, wage claims and compromising employee benefits is on the rise. Such violations are classified as "wage theft," and state and even federal officials have seconded that a record number of cases have been reported as of late. One such example was the case of FedEx employees in California who were classified as independent contractors, rather than actual employees. The truck drivers worked 10 hours per day, but were not given overtime pay by the company. Another case involved supermarket cleaners who were forced to sign blank time records and were given inaccurate and minimal work hours to reduce pay.

The Department of Labor's wage and hour division director stated that, since 2010, the number of illegally unpaid salary has reached almost $1 billion. Most of the workers who were victims of this practice were immigrants. The director also added that companies deny knowledge of wage theft by asserting that they do not pay employees directly because workers are employed by temp. agencies, subcontractors and franchise operators.

New Yorkers' employee rights take a serious blow when wage theft occurs. Besides hard earned money, workers lose important benefits and even better opportunities. In this kind of situation, workers have the option to seek legal guidance. Dealing with the wage theft claim, an employment law professional may be able to unearth other labor rights violations not privy to the worker.

Source: News Inferno, "Record Number of Cases Accusing Employers of 'Wage Theft'," F. A. Kelly, Sept. 3, 2014

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