Congressman Hare Introduces Bill to Prevent Wage Theft
November 15, 2010
In recent wage and hour legislation that our Anaheim labor and employment attorneys have been following, Illinois Congressman Phil Hare introduced the Wage Theft Prevention and Community Partnership Act in September, which authorizes the United States Department of Labor (DOL) to create a competitive grant program to help combat wage theft--the illegal practice plaguing the U.S. workplace, where workers are not being properly paid by employers for all of their work.
Wage theft is rampant across the country, leaving millions of American workers vulnerable to financial insecurity, and according to Congressman Hare, this bill helps expand the work of enforcement agencies and community organizations to educate workers about their employment rights and what remedies are there to help them. Hare claims that wage theft hurts workers, cheats the U.S. Treasury out of tax dollars owed, and is unfair to honest employers who are put at a competitive disadvantage by respecting wage and hour laws.
Wage theft includes violations of wage and hour laws, including not paying minimum wage, failing to compensate workers with overtime, demanding that employees work off the clock, engaging in employee misclassification to avoid paying overtime and minimum wage, as well as FICA tax, and failing to pay workers final paychecks, or paychecks at all.
As our Santa Ana employment attorneys discussed in a recent blog, a groundbreaking study of low-wage workers in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York, conducted by UCLA and published last year, found systematic violations of wage and hour laws in low-wage industries. The study found that 15% of worker's wages are robbed from workers each week. The Wage Theft Prevention and Community Partnership Grant Program would reportedly give important resources to legal clinics, work centers, and other groups locally, to help educate workers who have been victims of wage theft.
Ted Smukler, Director of Public Policy for Interfaith Worker Justice claimed that the organization is thrilled with Congressman Hare's leadership in the fight against wage theft, as well as the Department of Labor's renewed efforts under Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis to battle wage theft and employee misclassification. Interfaith Worker Justice is organizing a Wage Theft National Day of Action this week on November 18, 2010, in cities around the country to bring attention to the wage theft crisis and the desperate need for local cities, counties, and states to work together to stop it.
If you or someone you know in Orange County, California, has experienced wage and hour law violations, contact our Anaheim-based team of attorneys and professionals online or call toll-free at 1-800-872-5925.
Major Legislation to Combat Wage Theft Introduced Today: Federal Bill Would Strengthen Worker Advocates, Interfaith Worker Justice Press Release, September 29, 2010
Hare Introduces Bill to Combat Wage Theft, Congressman Phil Hare Press Release, September 29, 2010
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