Recent investigation reveals rampant wage theft across the country

As large corporations and their executives have raked in large sums of money, employees around the nation continue to experience wage theft. Wage theft can be either a civil violation or a crime, depending on the circumstances and the jurisdiction. Wage theft may happen in different ways, including an employer failing to pay an employee for all hours worked, an employer not paying the correct hourly wage rate, or an employer failing to give tips to employees who earned them. Wage theft also occurs when employers manipulate the corporate form through, for example, the misclassification of employees as somehow independent contractors or by doing business under a concealed joint employment scheme.

A recent investigation by CBS confirms yet again that wage theft remains a widespread problem. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the amount of wage theft in the United States could approach $50 billion annually. Given the scope of the problem, we need more powerful enforcement tools like the robust wage theft law in Minnesota. By prioritizing the investigation and prosecution of wage theft cases, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison leads the way nationally regarding essential enforcement efforts. Worker centers, such as Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha, Greater Minnesota Worker Center, and The Awood Center, also help employees to pursue wage theft claims – which can be pursued as class actions or collective actions and trigger the award of double damages and other monetary recoveries.