U.S. Department of Labor Asserts Certain Wage Theft Scenarios Constitute Modern Day Slavery
Posted By V. James DeSimone Law || 23-May-2019
San Francisco Based Employee Rights Attorney Battles For Fair Pay
In 1863, when Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, slavery was made illegal. And while most Americans denounce our country’s dark history, there are still thousands of people in the U.S. working without pay or below minimum wage. When this occurs, it can be considered both civil and criminal violations of wage theft.
Most recently, in an extreme—though not uncommon—incident of wage theft, 22 immigrant workers were found to be imprisoned in storage containers by an unlicensed, unscrupulous San Jose subcontractor who forced them to work long hours on the Silvery Towers development without pay.
Ultimately, the workers were freed by federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents last July, and the subcontractor was indicted on criminal charges of harboring illegal immigrants for commercial advantage and financial gain.
Since, the U.S. Labor Department announced that the trafficked laborers were paid $250,000 by the China-based Silvery Towers project developer after wage theft settlement negotiations.
Unfortunately, wage theft happens not only among immigrant workers, laborers and domestic servants but also within mainstream corporations. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, an estimated 80 percent of employers violate wage laws. So, the risk that an employee will not be paid fully for the hours they worked is exceedingly high. When an employer fails to pay a worker the income they’ve earned, the legal definition is “wage theft,” whether the deficit is intentional or not.
As demonstrated by the Silvery Towers immigrants’ case, the most blatant form of wage theft occurs when an employee is simply not paid for hours worked. Also, when an employee is expected to work overtime and/or through breaks or is asked to work outside paid hours, this constitutes wage theft.
According to the Santa Clara County Wage theft coalition, 1 in 6 California construction workers is now a victim of wage theft. In San Jose alone, workers have had more than $2.9 million stolen.
Unfortunately, some employers intentionally do not pay employees what they are owed for a variety of illegal reasons, including misclassifying workers as contractors or freelancers to avoid paying overtime wages and to deny benefits including health insurance and retirement. In other cases, employees are forced to work off-the-clock or are denied meal and rest breaks. Too often, some employees, particularly those in the service industry, are paid below California’s current hourly minimum wage of $15.00
Whether the wage theft was intentional or unintentional, the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) promotes economic justice for the state’s workers through vigorous enforcement of labor laws including the minimum wage of $15.00 per hour.
Employment Lawyers Help Workers In And Around Our San Francisco Community
If you have not received the pay you earned, employee rights attorney V. James DeSimone is fully skilled and equipped to make your employer pay for the wage theft they committed against you. In fact, because there are punitive laws for wage theft, in many cases, not only have we won our clients’ back pay, but we’ve also triumphed in civil courts, securing multi-million-dollar settlements on behalf of Los Angeles and other California workers.
When our clients have experienced wage theft, our employee rights advocates at V. James DeSimone Law Firm institute a fight for what exploited workers deserve. As employee advocates, we understand the complex federal and California employment laws which has been critical to winning the multi-million-dollar settlements and verdicts we’ve achieved for our clients.
The Laws Governing Employee Pay and Hours Protect Workers
The federal 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) established the minimum wage, overtime pay, employer record keeping and child labor standards in the private sector and in federal, state, and local governments as follows:
Recognized As A Leader In Aggressive Litigation When Workers Have Been Exploited By Their Employers, Attorney V. James DeSimone Is Dedicated To Protecting Los Angeles and California Workers From Wage Theft
As employee rights advocates, we have the resources, skills, and experience to protect exploited employees whose wages have been stolen, holding employers monetarily accountable who’ve violated the Fair Labor Standard Act and California’s State Department of Labor laws.
Negotiated and Litigated Wage Theft Wins Recover Monetary Compensation
When a claim is filed against an employer for wage theft, compensation may include the following:
▪Unpaid wages interest
▪Double (liquidated damages)
▪Costs incurred for other necessary legal actions
James DeSimone’s Legal Team Members Are Prepared to Zealously Fight For The Money You’re Owed
To learn what your specific options are, the attorney team at James DeSimone will provide a free, no obligation confidential case assessment to determine if we can help.
At V. James DeSimone Law, we have over three decades’ experience representing individuals against wrongs committed against them. We want to help with your wage theft or other labor law violation, so when you call or write, please provide us with all the information you can to support your claim. Whether you are in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Bernardino County, or anywhere else in Southern California, we look forward to assisting you.
No Upfront Fees or Costs–Only When We Win Your Settlement Will We Get Paid
When you’ve been a wage theft victim, you may already be short on money. As your employment attorney, we care about you and don’t want to add to your financial stress. So, you’ll never pay a penny up-front to us. As your compassionate legal team, we’ll provide our full legal services on a contingency basis.
Contact Us Today–Statute Of Limitations’ Deadlines Are Critical To A Successful Claim
To begin the conversation about the wage theft committed against you, contact attorney V. James ‘s employment law legal team. Through our intake system, we’ll ask questions so we understand your unique situation and to assess whether we can help. Spanish-speaking (para hablar español) and English-speaking legal staff are available.
If your wage theft case qualifies, you’ll become part of the V. James DeSimone family because we take our clients’ unique situations personally with hands-on dedication. At all times, you’ll be treated with compassion and respect.
Call the V. James DeSimone Law Firm team at 310.693.5561. Or if it’s easier, send us a private message on our contact form. Either way you reach out to us, we’ll respond promptly and courteously.