Both nationally and throughout Wisconsin, wage theft is a significant issue that is costing workers. In the ten most populous states, wage theft is estimated to cost workers $8 billion every year.

Estimated nationally, it is expected that wage theft costs workers $15 billion annually. This exceeds the total value of all property crimes committed nationally.

What are the signs of wage theft?

Wage theft – when an employer fails to pay a worker the full wages they earned – can take on many forms. While the below list is not exhaustive, it does paint a fairly comprehensive picture of the most common types of wage theft that an employer may engage in:

  • Requiring employees to work off the clock
  • Failing to pay minimum wage or overtime wages
  • Refusing to pay the agreed-upon wages
  • Misclassifying a worker
  • Illegally deducting expenses from a worker’s paycheck

Can my employer retaliate against me?

There is an understandable fear among many workers that reporting wage theft is not worth it. They’re worried that their employer will retaliate against them, thereby costing them more in the long run than the amount of the lost wages.

Workers not only have protections against wage theft – they are also protected from an employer’s retaliation. If your employer demotes you, fires you, reduces your wages, limits your working hours or otherwise threatens you, you can take further legal action.

Workers who experience retaliation can recover monetary damages, as well as any lost wages that you may have incurred as a result of the retaliation. You can also recover compensation for your legal expenses. This helps to ensure that all workers, especially those who may have lower-income, can have access to good, experienced employment attorneys who can help hold employers accountable.