Tierney Blog

CA and MA Taking On the Scourge of Wage-Theft

The wage-theft saga continues, as evidenced by these recent actions brought by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.

In a May 2017 report, the Economic Policy Institute found that in 10 states (California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas) 2.4 million workers lose approximately $8 billion annually as a result of receiving an effective hourly rate less than the states' mandated minimum wage. These findings suggest that nationally, employers are pocketing $15 billion in employee wages! This scourge overwhelmingly impacts low-wage industries, where immigrant and other vulnerable, marginalized communities predominate the labor force.

These cases will generally not garner the national spotlight. But they are just as important as the actions that have generated far greater national attention. They have immediate real-life impact on affected communities and send a clear signal that some state attorneys general remain on the labor law enforcement beat.

EPI ReportEmployers steal $15 billion a year from workers by paying less than the minimum wageEconomic Policy Institute, May 10, 2017.

California Case:  Attorney General Becerra Files Suit Against Janitorial Subcontracting Company for Wage Theft and Violating Tax LawsHighland Community News,  Nov 30, 2017.

Massachusetts Case: Sean Philip Cotter, AG: Cohasset hotel didn’t pay workers enough, The Patriot Ledger, Dec 1, 2017.