According to an (https://www.npr.org/) NPR article, the state of New York is suing Domino’s Pizza, the United States’ largest pizza chain, over alleged wage theft.
New York Attorney General Eric Schniderman asserts Domino’s Pizza systematically undercounted the hours worked by employees at several franchises. In the lawsuit, the state of New York alleges Domino’s Pizza encouraged franchises to use a payroll system called Pulse. Since 2007 Domino’s Pizza has been aware the Pulse payroll software undercounted the hours worked by employees and under-calculated wages.
Wage theft is not just a problem in New York. Wage theft occurs every day to workers in Connecticut and Massachusetts. According to the United States Department of Labor (DOL) $280 million was recovered from wage and hour violators in 2014. Many employees have unknowingly experienced wage theft.
What is Wage Theft?
Wage theft occurs anytime an employer does not pay an employer for time worked. This may result in either nonpayment or underpayment. Commonly, wage theft occurs when any of the following occurs:
- Employee is not compensated for necessary work-related activities like travelling from one work site to another, dressing in safety equipment, setting up equipment for a work-related event, etc.
- Employee is not compensated or pay is docked due to quality of work.
- Errors, including payroll system or human errors, which result in miscalculation of hours or non-payment.
- Employee works more than 40 hours and is not paid time and a half for the additional hours worked.
- Employer requires employees to skip or shorted legally required breaks and/or lunches
Wage theft is not explicitly defined under Federal, Massachusetts, or Connecticut law and encompasses a wide variety of activities or scenarios. If you suspect your employer has committed wage theft or has withheld unpaid wages, it is important to consult an experienced wage and hour lawyer immediately.
Wage Theft and Overtime
Commonly, wage theft occurs when an employee works more than 40 hours a week and is not paid time and a half for overtime.
For example, the minimum wage in Massachusetts, as of Jan. 1, 2016, is $10.00 an hour. A minimum wage employee in Massachusetts must be paid $15.00 an hour or time and a half for any hours worked more than 40 in a single week.
Similarly, the minimum wage in Connecticut, as of Jan. 1, 2016, is $$9.60 an hour. A minimum wage employee in Connecticut must be paid $14.40 an hour or time and a half for any hours worked more than 40 in a single week.
Common Victims of Wage Theft
All employees can be victims of wage theft; however, there are some employees that are more susceptible due to their industry, economic status, or immigration status. The following employees are common victims of identity theft:
- Non-Citizens and/or Persons with Unlawful Status in the United States: Non-citizens and/or persons unlawfully present are common victims of wage theft. Some employers will threaten to report the individual to Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) or other governmental body if he or she seeks unpaid wages. Any employee, whether present in the United States legally or not, may pursue an unpaid wage claim.
- Restaurant Industry Workers: Restaurant industry workers, especially those who work for tips (i.e. waiters/waitresses, bartenders, etc.) do not view themselves as hourly employees, because the hourly wage is minimal. However, all restaurant employees must be compensated based on their hourly wage for time worked.
- Warehouse Workers: Warehouse workers and subcontractors, especially those who work for large retail companies, are frequently wage theft victims. In 2014 a Walmart contractor that operated several distribution centers was ordered to pay $21 million in back pay to California warehouse workers who were underpaid.
Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore ǀ Connecticut and Massachusetts Unpaid Wage Lawyers
If you believe you have experienced wage theft or are entitled to unpaid wages from your employer, it is important to act quickly. The attorneys of Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore are experienced wage and hour lawyers with a proven track record of getting employees the compensation they deserve.
With offices in Hartford, New Haven, and Springfield, the team of attorneys at Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore are ready to help Connecticut and Massachusetts employees with any of their employment and labor law issues, including unpaid wages, discrimination, discrimination, and wrongful termination claims.
Contact Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore at (860) 522-8888 for a confidential review of your case.