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Wage theft a problem for many U.S. workers

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When a worker isn't paid according to the law, the employer can get into a lot of trouble. One way that employers may violate the law is through wage theft.

Wage theft refers to when an employer pays a person an hourly rate in certain circumstances but not for everything they do on the job. For example, a limousine driver described how he'd be paid while driving a client but wouldn't be paid when he was expected to clean the vehicle, get gas for the vehicle and verify the trip through paperwork. Essentially, he'd do lots of office work for no hourly pay. His wife agreed and had the same problem with the company.

After taking the employer to court, the couple was reportedly "paid in full." They have since moved to another state.

While their case happened in Nevada, this kind of situation happens across the U.S. The payment of back wages is on the rise, too. In 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division collected around $835,000 every day for workers who deserved back pay. That back pay represents what workers should have been paid to begin with but never received.

What can you do to avoid wage theft?

As an employee, you should not be doing work off-the-clock. Always clock in before a meeting or when you're asked to do a task. If you can't clock in at that time, make sure the extra time is added to your time sheet later on. Time is money, and you deserve fair compensation for your time.

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