What is Wage Theft?
Wage theft occurs when workers aren’t paid all or part of their wages they earn – sometimes for not paying legally mandated overtime pay or hours in excess of 40 hours per work week. And when employees are disenfranchised, employers use this to take advantage of these workers who may not fully understand their rights. This practice is often accompanied by other forms of tax fraud such as misclassification.
For most businesses engaging in wage theft, it isn’t an accident. It is a business model. In the construction industry, contractors often use crooked subcontractors or labor brokers in order to shield themselves from liability for wage theft, but they can still be held responsible as joint employers.
Workers aren’t the only ones who get hurt by wage theft. Wage theft gives cheating businesses a leg up when competing against law-abiding companies. This means that legitimate companies, and the workers they fairly employ, often lose work and fair wages.
Stop Unfair Wage Practices
You can help keep companies honest and stop unfair wage practices. Call the Missouri Department of Labor at 1-800-592-6003, or the US Department of Labor at 1-866-487-9243, to report a contractor or business you know that’s playing fast and loose with the rules.