Los Angeles may be a capital for entertainment, tourism and culture, but for many local workers L.A. is synonymous with working off the clock, unpaid overtime and other labor-law violations. L.A. workers lose an estimated $26.2 million every week to bosses who fail to pay employees what they earn. However, we can learn something from other parts of the state that have taken serious measures to curb wage theft. From raising penalties on employers who steal, to shielding workers from retaliation, there are numerous strategies that can be used to put more earnings into workers’ pockets.
When it comes to enforcing labor laws, “the main obstacle is lack of resources,” Ruth Milkman, a sociology professor at the City University of New York and co-author of a 2010 UCLA wage-theft study, tells Capital & Main. “The scale of the problem is so much bigger than the capacity of these agencies to deal with it,” she continues.