October 27, 2016, 08:01 am
By Paco Fabián, contributor
Wage theft is epidemic and it hits Latino workers the hardest. A recent study by the Economic Policy Institute found that wage theft across America is costing workers $50 billion per year. Compare that to the robberies, burglaries, larcenies, and motor vehicle thefts in the FBI’s uniform crime report, which cost victims an estimated $14 billion over the same period, and you can see that calling wage theft an epidemic is no exaggeration.
Paying workers below the legal minimum wage, not paying for overtime hours worked, forcing workers to work off-the-clock or, for workers on federal contracts, not paying the proper wage rate for their occupation, are just some of the sleights-of -hand that employers engage in to cheat workers. Although all of these maneuvers are illegal, they are rarely punished.
In a survey conducted of three metropolitan areas with high Latino populations, the largest percentage of workers who suffer minimum wage and overtime law violations are Latinos. And amongst foreign-born Latino workers the problem is even worse.