A study done by Pew Hispanic Center found that undocumented immigrants living in the United States earned a median household income of $36,000, $14,000 less than their legal and native-born counterparts, despite the fact that many households had more working members. These workers are also more susceptible to situations where employment laws aren’t followed, as the fear of retaliation keeps many from reporting misconduct committed by their employer. Wage stealing is one such infraction that has gained national attention in the last few years. Just why and how does this happen? How can it be stopped? Author Jed DeVaro discusses this in his article “Stealing Wages From Immigrants” from Compensation and Benefits Review.
In California, ongoing concerns about employers stealing wages from undocumented immigrant workers (who are reluctant to report employer violations because they want to minimize contact with legal authorities) have led to two “antiretaliation” laws passed in 2013 (Assembly Bill 263 and Senate Bill 666) designed to protect workers. This article describes wage stealing (when, how, why and to whom it happens) and its consequences and evaluates various solutions to the problem, including the recent California legislation.
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