In 2017, the Economic Policy Institute did a study of wage theft in the 10 most populous states. The group estimated that 2.4 million people each year lose a total of $8 billion to thefts by their employers. That $8 billion, which again only represents 10 states, was nearly half the total of the annual $16.4 billion in all other property thefts combined.
As of July 1, 2018, the minimum wage for the state of Maryland, District of Columbia, and Mongtomery County, Maryland all increased. The following increases immediately take effect as of Sunday:
Wage payments owed to tipped employees are frequently mishandled by employers. Under most circumstances, employers of tipped workers are permitted to pay lower wages than the standard minimum wage.
Several weeks ago in this Greenbelt Employment Law Blog, we discussed a class action wage theft lawsuit that had been filed by exotic dancers in West Virginia who accused their employer of illegally taking a portion of their tips. This case has now been complicated as the employer, a club, has asked a judge to dismiss the case due to stipulations in the employment contract that the dancers signed.
Under the Maryland Wage Payment and Collection Act, employees have the right to be paid on time. Employees can generally pursue lawsuits in order to recover any unpaid wages from their employers after a paycheck is at least two weeks late. In some industries, however, it can be very difficult for employees to recover wages. This may be true in a field like construction, where there are numerous companies and supervisors involved in a project.
Wage theft is a significant issue in the Metro Washington, D.C., area. "Wage theft" refers to employers failing to pay employees legal wages. This occurs when employers neglect to pay overtime properly, pay workers less than minimum wage or misclassify workers as exempt from certain wage rights, for example. Wage laws can be quite complicated as wages are governed by both the federal Fair Labor Standards Act as well as local state wage payment laws.