BROOKLYN (Workers World Today) — National studies have shown that one-third of low-wage workers experience wage theft every week. Two-thirds have had wages stolen at some point in their work lives.
Employers use a variety of means to avoid paying wages their workers have earned: working them off the clock, failing to pay overtime, failing to pay the minimum wage, and simply disappearing without paying, an occurrence that is too often experienced by workers who are hired by contractors for temporary laboring jobs in construction, demolition, landscaping, and truck loading, hauling, and unloading.
But it is not just low-wage workers in smaller businesses who face wage theft. A study based on a compilation of court cases by Good Jobs First and Jobs with Justice found that wage theft is built into the business model of some of America’s biggest corporations. Walmart, with $1.4 billion in total wage theft settlements and fines, is the worst offender, followed by FedEx with $502 million. Retailing is the industry with the highest aggregate penalties ($2.7 billion), followed by financial services ($1.4 billion), freight and logistics ($828 million), business services ($611 million), and insurance ($557 million). Among top offenders are household names like Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, and State Farm Insurance.