13 June 2018

Wage Theft pervades in corporate America

Big banks and insurers are among the most-penalided firms for engaging in wage theft.

New research by Corporate Research Project of Good Jobs First and Jobs With Justice Education Fund finds that a wide range of big corporations in the US have been shortchanging their employees. The report ‘Grand Theft Paycheck: The Large Corporations Shortchanging Their Workers’ Wages’ claims firms have boosted their profits by forcing employees to work off the clock, cheating them out of required overtime pay and engaging in similar practices that together are known as wage theft.

Wage thefts

Detailed analysis of federal and state court records shows that these corporations have paid out billions of dollars to resolve wage theft lawsuits brought by workers. Walmart, which has long been associated with such practices, has paid the most, but the list of the most-penalized employers also includes Bank of America, Wells Fargo and other large banks and insurance companies as well as major technology and healthcare corporations. Many of the large corporations are repeat offenders, and 450 firms have each paid out $1 million or more in settlements and/or judgments. Good Jobs First Research Director Philip Mattera, the lead author of the report, said ‘Our findings make it clear that wage theft goes far beyond sweatshops, fast-food outlets and retailers. It is built into the business model of a substantial portion of Corporate America.’

Beyond sweatshops

The report summarises a year-long compilation and analysis of 1,200 successful wage theft litigation cases brought against large companies that have been resolved since the beginning of 2000. These cases, in which employers have paid out a total of $8.8 billion, involve occupations ranging from cashiers and security guards to financial advisors and pharmaceutical sales representatives. The same group of companies paid another $400 million in penalties to the US Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division during that period. Three-quarters of the $9.2 billion in overall penalties came from the giant companies included in the Fortune 500, the Fortune Global 500 and the Forbes list of the largest privately held firms. The report can be found here.