The prestigious Pew Charitable Trusts organization reported this month that family spending has increased faster than wage growth. On paper, America has pulled out of the recession but the average family is worse off.
Adjusting for inflation, spending has increased by 14% between 2004 and 2014 yet real incomes have dropped by 13%. If you wondered if things are getting worse, for most people they are.
According to their research, Pew says that one in three families have no savings, nothing in case of an emergency. “Families do not have a cushion. They don’t have savings or wealth that they really need in order to weather emergencies and to promote their own economic mobility, especially their wealth mobility.”
What does this have to do with wage theft? Everything. Workers are often putting in long hours but not receiving overtime. Some workers are forced to work off the clock and don’t get paid anything for their hours.
When a worker is denied pay or denied overtime, it is considered wage theft. Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and many state laws, wage theft is illegal. It can even be criminal if willful.
Workers usually don’t want to see their employer in jail, they simply want to be paid fairly for their work. They want to provide for their families.
In 1993, there were just 1,457 FLSA claims filed nationwide. That was the first year that the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts began keeping statistics. By 2013, the number had increased to 7,500 and a year later in 2014 the number jumped another 9% to 8,160. When the 2015 statistics are released, we expect another huge increase.
The reasons for the dramatic increase in wage theft claims are simple. Workers are becoming more savvy about their rights and workers’ paychecks can no longer be stretched to pay the bills.
The FLSA covers millions of workers. There are exceptions for certain managers, administrative and professionals. There are also additional narrow exceptions for certain specific occupations.
We have found that many workers don’t come forward because they were told they didn’t qualify for overtime. Often, what they were told is incorrect. Job titles mean little under the FLSA. Employers often misclassify employees to avoid overtime. For example, we see many “managers” and supervisors who hold a title in name only. They have no ability to hire and fire workers.
Others don’t come forward because they believe they can’t afford a lawyer. Again, more misinformation. Most wage theft claims don’t require workers to advance any monies or fees. Employers can be forced to pay the worker’s legal bill if the worker is successful.
Don’t deprive yourself or family. If you are a victim of wage theft, call us. For more information, visit our Fair Labor Standards Act information page or contact attorney Brian Mahany at Need immediate help? Call Brian directly at (414) 704-6731.
MahanyLaw – America’s Fraud Recovery and Wage Theft Lawyers. Services provided in many jurisdictions. Class cases considered nationwide.