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Wage theft in 2021 and beyond: Litigation is increasing

On Behalf of | Feb 9, 2021 | Employment Law |

Employers know that they need to pay their employees a legally required wage and must abide by rules protecting employee rights to these wages. Unfortunately, many employers don’t seem to have gotten the message.

Common forms of wage theft include:

  • Failing to pay overtime
  • Making payments under the table in cash
  • Tip pooling
  • Misclassifying employees as independent contractors
  • Failing to pay or rounding down pay for time spent “donning and doffing” uniforms or protective gear, or other starting up or ending time

There has been a sharp increase in wage and hour litigation

Workers are getting increasingly savvy about their rights when it comes to wage and hour laws. As a result, there has been a significant uptick in claims against employers for timekeeping errors, employee misclassifications, overtime pay theft and other errors or omissions.

In fact, according to a recent report, successful wage and hour claims were at a higher level in 2020 than has been seen in 20 years. The report also states, “This state of affairs is expected to explode in 2021 with a more friendly DOL that makes wage theft its enforcement priority and with minimum wage increases in 25 states in 2021.”

Mitigation risk experts are recommending that employers conduct thorough reviews of their employment practices to make sure that they’re conforming with the laws, especially given recent changes in both wage rates and work-at-home situations.

Is your employer engaging in illegal conduct?

Employers often take advantage of an employee being unaware of the rules to skim a little off their wages and benefits. Others make genuine mistakes — but make no rush to compensate their employees for lost wages or benefits once they realize it.

If your employer has been stealing your hard-earned benefits or wages to line their own pockets, you can fight back. Talk to an attorney about your options and what steps you should take next.