wage theft committee meeting
WAGE THEFT COMMITTEE UPDATES
This hard-working committee is tracking almost a dozen cases of stolen wages—some people have received full or partial payments, and others are still in the works. One worker collected $913, another has been offered $1300 but is owed $2100. Another worker, who had worked many, many hours of overtime, was paid for regular work but not for the time-and-a-half he was owed. The committee is in regular touch with the employer.
One case has been filed with the NJ Department of Labor which is following up—but now the worker has disappeared.
A large law firm agreed to take a case where the worker is owed about $20,000. After many months the case went to trial—and the employer’s attorney did not show! So the worker won by default, including attorneys’ fees. The law firm has hired a “bulldog” lawyer to try to collect on the judgment.
A new situation has been reported where several workers were not paid for a number of weeks by a restaurant in Palisades Park. When members of the wage theft committee went to the restaurant to protest the theft, and the chair of the committee began to call the owner, he agreed to pay one person at a time, for just one week at a time—a process that would result in payments lasting several months. The owner continued to make appointments to make the payments, but then would cancel them. And now the restaurant is closed! The committee is still in touch with the owner, advising him that the money is still owed.
Members of the committee continue to track several other situations. Strategies must be devised to deal with each one; even though failing to pay employees for work done is against the law, enforcement of the law is virtually non-existent.