On February 4, 2014, Washington, D.C. Council-members Vincent Orange, Jim Graham, and Mary Cheh proposed the Wage Theft Prevention Act of 2014, a bill intended to amend the District’s broken wage recovery process.
According to Councilmember Orange, “For low wage earners, wage theft can result in severe consequences like missed payment, but also foreclosures and repossessions. But wage theft also hurts our economy. By cheating workers out of wages, employers who commit wage theft rob DC of revenues through tax and payroll fraud, which can depress consumer spending and stunt economic growth.”
The bill seeks to:
- Launch formal procedures such as administrative hearings for the recovery of unpaid wages by means of enforceable judgments
- Increase penalties for the violation of wage and hour laws
- Require employers to issue formal notices of regular and overtime pay rates
- Hold general contractors and subcontractors jointly for stolen wages
- Provide workers with greater access to legal representation and the courts
- Toll the statute of limitations for wage theft actions when an employer fails to post workers’ rights
The Act would follow similar efforts and precedents in California, New York and Massachusetts, and coincides with a recently released policy proposal and wage theft report that revealed how employers are not held accountable for wage and hour law violations in the District.
Sommers Schwartz’s Wage & Hour Litigation Group regularly monitors the issues and developments that impact workers in Michigan and around the country. For more information about the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, wage and overtime abuse, and other employment issues, please contact one of our attorneys today.