Wage theft is a serious economic concern for hourly workers in particular. Employees who need every cent that they earn to support their families are often those most at risk of not receiving their pay in full. The impact of wage theft can add up to major losses for individual workers and significant profit for a business.
Wage theft is more common than workers realize, with even large, well-established companies often violating the pay rights of hourly workers. Employees may question how they can assert themselves when a company doesn’t follow federal wage rules, especially if they think there’s an issue with their pay.
Maintaining separate records
Timeclock record manipulations are among the most common ways for employers to covertly engage in wage theft. Simply deducting a few minutes of time from the beginning or end of a shift can push someone back down under the overtime threshold for a pay period or add up to an hour or two of time each week.
It would be incredibly easy for workers to overlook those minor changes, which is why they need to have accurate records of when they clock in and out for each shift. They can then compare those records to each paycheck to ensure that the hours for which the company pays them align with their record of when they work. Workers should be able to request time clock records for up to three years after a paycheck, as federal law requires the maintenance of such employment records for at least 36 months. Discrepancies are a warning sign that wage theft might be an issue.
Conversing with coworkers
When an hourly worker discovers that their employer has not fully compensated them for time worked, the chances are good that such practices will have impacted others at the company as well. Workers may want to discuss the matter with others who they trust so that their coworkers can also maintain independent records, possibly by taking photographs of the clock-in and clock-out screens from each shift, in order to track and validate allegations of time clock manipulation and wage theft.
Tracking possible wage theft and developing a paper trail showing discrepancies between internal records and when someone actually worked can help those who believe they have grounds for a wage claim.