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Philadelphia Employment Law Attorneys: Wage Theft and Labor Law Violations in Slow Economy

March 4th, 2013

The Baltimore Sun recently reported on the case of a woman who was denied overtime pay after working more than 40 hours per week.  The employee regularly worked 72 hours each week at a convenience store, and by law her employer was required to pay her time and a half for those additional hours.  Instead, the employee was paid $324 less than she should have earned each week.  When she complained, her employer threatened to cut her hours, and subsequently fired her.

The employee sued her employer and won her case in federal court.  Unfortunately, she is one of many employees in the U.S. whose wages or hours are being cut as a result of the recession.  Law enforcement officials report that an increasing number of employers are violating wage and labor laws, many of which were enacted after the Great Depression to combat this very issue.

Government Stepping Up Enforcement to Prevent Wage Theft

“Wage theft” practices are most prevalent in lower wage jobs, such as those in the food service and cleaning industries, but they are starting to appear in middle-class jobs as well.  These practices include denying workers benefits, refusing overtime pay, paying under minimum wage, and even doctoring workers’ time sheets.  Studies have shown that these illegal tactics can rob workers of up to 20% of their earnings.

Lawsuits involving wage and labor law violations have increased exponentially since the latest downturn in the economy.  In response to the prevalence of wage theft, lawmakers are expanding their efforts to prevent it.  The U.S. Department of Labor has hired an additional 300 investigators to assist with wage law enforcement, and states are enacting legislation to protect employees who might be victims of wage theft.  Some businesses are resistant to these legislative measures, claiming that they’ve had to make cutbacks due to the harsh economy, but they count on enforcement of these measures to maintain a level playing field between businesses.

Philadelphia Employment Law Attorneys at Sidney L. Gold & Associates Advocate for Victims of Wage Theft

Employees who count on their jobs to survive keep quiet, either out of fear of retribution or because they do not understand their rights.  With unemployment rates consistently high during the recession, workers are afraid of being replaced if they complain about unfair treatment; however, all employees deserve to be compensated fairly for the work they have done.

If you have been a victim of wage theft or a labor law violation, or if you have experienced retaliation in the workplace for complaining of unfair treatment, the Philadelphia employment law attorneys at Sidney L. Gold & Associates can help.  Their knowledgeable and experienced staff will review the evidence in your case and advise you on how to proceed to get the compensation you deserve.  Our employment lawyers maintain offices in Philadelphia, conveniently located to serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  Call us today at 215-569-1999 or contact us online.

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