U.S. News & World Report reported that a recent study of low-income workers—39 percent unauthorized immigrants, 31 percent authorized immigrants, and 30 percent U.S.-born citizens, found that the average low-wage urban worker earning $339 a week is cheated out of $51 of that amount.. The workers employers committed one or more workplace violations, including paying less than minimum wage, refusing overtime pay, requiring off-the-clock work, or preventing workers compensation claims. The researchers found that women, immigrants, and people of color were disproportionately more likely to experience a violation.
Workers industries were wide-ranging, including manufacturing, construction, food service, and child care. More than two-thirds of the workers surveyed had experienced at least one pay-related violation within the previous workweek. Nearly a quarter worked off the clock and were rarely paid for it. And 76 percent of workers who had worked overtime were not paid the overtime rate, as required by law. More than two-thirds of workers entitled to lunch breaks had either not received them, had them shortened, had been interrupted, or continued to work through their break.
The magazine reported that study coauthor Ruth Milkman, a sociologist at UCLA, said, “In that segment of the labor market, it also appears that employers have realized that enforcement is extremely unlikely and they can do this stuff without much fear of consequences.” The study’s authors argue that “the best inoculation against workplace violations is ensuring that workers know their rights, have full status under the law to assert them, have access to sufficient legal resources, and do not fear retaliation.”
At Leeds Brown Law, P.C., our employment law attorneys handle unpaid overtime wage disputes for clients on Long Island and throughout the New York City area, and have had significant success in these matters, our firm files claims on behalf of individual clients as well as groups, and can take unpaid overtime wage disputes on a nationwide basis as well.
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