(TriceEdneyWire.com)—Federal and state agencies have recovered $2 billion stolen from workers by employers in 2015 and 2016 through wage theft, and a study by the Economic Policy Institute argues the amount is just a “drop in the bucket” of what has actually been stolen.
The U.S. Department of Labor recovered $246.8 million in 2015 and $266.6 million in 2016 in stolen wages, the EPI, a Washington D.C.-based think tank reported. State departments of labor and attorney generals in 39 states recovered $170.0 million in 2015 and $147.5 million 2016.
Class-action settlements recovered $436.6 million in 2015 and $695.5 million in 2016.
Wages are stolen when employers refuse to pay promised salaries or pay employees for some-not all-of the hours worked and refuse to pay overtime although employees work more than 40 hours a week.
Other instances of wage theft include:
1. Minimum wage violations: paying workers less than the legal minimum wage;
2. Off-the-clock violations: asking employees to work off the clock before or after their shift begins or ends
3. Meal break violations: denying workers their legal meal breaks
4. Illegal deductions: taking illegal deductions from wages