Before the California Wage Theft Prevention Act came into effect at the beginning of 2012, many new hires didn’t get any kind of written documentation stating precisely what dollar amount or exactly when they were supposed to be compensated for their labor. Many folks would just go to work (happy to be working at all in our rough economy) and not have the slightest clue about whether they were supposed to be paid by the hour, every day, or each week. Even though many other states enacted statutes that were similar to California’s, wage theft is still a major issue in the United States today. Rallies and protests by unhappy workers, citizens, and organizations are still happening all the time.
The top corporate heads of famous fast food chains like McDonalds and Burger King don’t want to take any of the blame for the multiple wage theft cases that are happening in their many restaurant locations across the country. For example, one report in the Kansas City Star shows Burger King Spokespeople making statements claiming that when things like scheduling and wages go wrong it’s not their fault, since almost all of their restaurants are independently owned franchises (McDonalds’ corporate heads weaseled their way out by stating that operations in their stores were being “investigated”). That wasn’t enough to stop all of the angry workers in the city from making their employers’ shortcomings publicly known. “Hey-Hey! Ho-Ho!/Sto-len wa-ges gotta go!” was the repeated chant at a recent rally in Kansas City. Protesters made sure their voices were heard as folks like KC resident Keith Edwards (who was dressed up like Ronald McDonald while holding two cloth money bags that read ‘CEO, 1 MIL’) marched in front of a few McDonald’s and Burger King’s in their area early April of this year. The StandUPKC Coalition led the rally that attracted about 250 people.
The fast food industry, though it is one of the biggest culprits of wage theft, is far from the only one. They mostly get away with things like trimming off a few hours each pay period (time on the clock that an employee actually worked), but other types of jobs where people aren’t in a team environment are guilty of another kind of wage theft. Here in Los Angeles a few days ago a protest went on that involved over 100 port truck drivers who disrupted the operations of multiple trucking firms in the area. The understandably upset truckers were led by a union- supported group called Justice for Port Truck Drivers, and were determined to let the public know that they were being classified as independent contractors instead of full-time workers, even though they worked the qualifying amount of hours every pay period. When this happens, the workers aren’t entitled to things that they should be, like meal breaks or overtime.
Even though being a part of them is great, there are also other ways to handle your personal wage theft situation besides attending a rally or protest, like attaining legal representation. The Wage and Hour Class Action Litigation Attorneys at Makarem Associates can be easily reached at310.312.0299, or you can simply email us at [email protected].