Wage Theft: Protecting Workers and Holding Corporations Accountable

Janos Marton
25 min readSep 8, 2020

Foreword: The current global health pandemic and movement for Black lives have highlighted the way racism permeates all aspects of society. We cannot achieve racial or economic justice without addressing wage theft, which disproportionately impacts low-income, minority workers in America, and has only gotten worse throughout the pandemic.

Luis and Juan¹ spent years making deliveries for a restaurant. When the business closed suddenly due to COVID, Luis and Juan were not notified, nor were they given their last two weeks of wages. When they finally tracked down the business owner, at a different property, he threatened them with arrest, which was a significant threat, given their undocumented status. I am now working with them on filing a complaint with the city Department of Consumer Affairs, but it could be months before their case is addressed.

Luis and Juan’s story is not unique. More than ever, workers are being denied their fair wages, at a time when this is most devastating. Grocery store workers, service-industry workers, and other low-paid employees are the people who have allowed New Yorkers to stay safe during the pandemic, sometimes at the expense of their own livelihoods. Paying these workers their due wages is the absolute minimum they deserve. Wage theft is a crisis originating long before the pandemic, and one which will continue after the pandemic, unless we take decisive action to end it.


I am running for Manhattan District Attorney because our city’s criminal justice system is in dire need of transformation. Our criminal courts still reflect an assembly-line, mass incarceration approach to safety and punishment, especially for low-income communities of color. In contrast, those same courts allow the rich, powerful, and connected to perpetuate great harm without facing accountability. That must change.

This tale of two legal systems is not new. I have been watching this system fail all my life, first growing up as a person of color in 1990s Manhattan, then later working as a civil rights attorney and criminal justice advocate. My experience has taught me that the goal of the criminal justice system should be to hold people accountable for the harm they cause, while doing everything in our power to stop cycles of harm from perpetuating. However, for too long, New York has failed to hold corporations to that same standard of accountability. In order to build a just and equitable society, I will hold employers and powerful corporations accountable when they fail to compensate their workers, just as we hold individuals accountable when they perpetuate harm.

Across America, the economic harm from “wage theft” is billions of dollars per year — far greater than the annual sum of property crimes such as grand larceny or burglary.²³⁴ That is staggering. Our criminal justice system gives executives who steal from their own workers a pass, while showing no such mercy to their employees when they act out of economic desperation. In a city and state where workers have organized relentlessly to win the right to a livable wage, it is unacceptable that more than half of minimum wage workers in New York City suffer from wage violations.⁵ Such pervasive economic loss is a societal problem, but it has not been treated as one.⁶ Just as imprisonment restricts individual liberty, so too does economic confinement resulting from illegal business practices. And yet, the legal onus of seeking justice for wage theft lies on the worker. That must change. As Manhattan District Attorney, I will dramatically transform the office with a proactive and robust approach to workers rights. Below we have announced seven proposals that will help us combat wage theft.

Statement of Values

The values of a District Attorney’s office must be in line with the values of the community in order for justice to be served. My values are rooted in freedom, compassion, equity, and opportunity.

There is perhaps no more universal human desire than freedom. I think of my own immigrant parents, whose families risked everything in pursuit of freedom.⁷ Every time a person is locked in a cage and stripped of their freedom, we have collectively failed as a society. That is why in our office, jail and prison will always be a last resort. Thus, our primary goal in wage theft cases will be positive outcomes for workers, especially the collection of wages owed to workers, and greatly expanded enforcement against employers to curb future violations.⁸

Our office will promote compassion for all Manhattan’s workers, no matter their economic power. We recognize that for marginalized workers, complying with law enforcement is fraught and intimidating, and our office will honor those who bravely come forward with their claims.⁹¹⁰ We understand that undocumented workers fear speaking out due to Immigration and Custom Enforcement (“ICE”) raids in workplaces throughout the country, as well as employer threats such as witness intimidation or retaliation at work.¹¹ We pledge to do everything within our power to protect these workers, which includes shielding them from federal immigration enforcement.

Our office must pursue equality. Racism and economic injustice permeates each facet of the criminal justice system, as well as the employment landscape in New York City. While wage theft is pervasive across many industries, the workers who are most likely to experience it are amongst the most marginalized communities in the city, including undocumented immigrants, people of color, and women.¹² We will focus on the corporate policies and senior management decisions that drive these thefts, rather than the lower-level employees executing company policy.

In re-imagining accountability, we must maximize the opportunity for employers and employees to thrive in the long run. When corporations steal wages, they are depriving low-wage workers of opportunity. To prosecute the individual who steals from Walmart but not Walmart’s theft from its own workers is a false model of justice.¹³ Our office will ensure that employers repeatedly flagged for wage theft allegations will face escalating punishments if they are found guilty. Incarceration would be a very last resort reserved for drastic cases, but is not off the table. Likewise, severe wage theft cases do allow law enforcement to shut down businesses, but given the deleterious impact that would have on workers and local communities, we will strive to deliver outcomes that strengthen their economic opportunities.

Based on these values, I am pledging that as Manhattan District Attorney, I will move towards ending our two-tiered system of justice that leaves workers without recourse when an employer engages in wage theft. New Yorkers must be paid the wages they have earned.

What is “Wage Theft” and Why is it a Crisis for Workers?

Wage theft occurs “when an employer denies a worker the wages or benefits to which they are entitled.”¹⁴ This can occur through various illegal employer practices, such as paying employees below the lawful minimum wage, denying them required meal and rest breaks, worker misclassification, failing to pay overtime, requiring off the clock work, and stealing tips. Billions of dollars are lost every year from wage theft in the United States, with some research suggesting as much as $50 billion.¹⁵ In New York, it is estimated that workers experience wage theft of $10 to $20 million per week, a loss of $52 to $104 million per year.¹⁶ In the construction industry alone, misclassified and off-the-book workers in New York cost the state $271.6 million annually in lost payroll taxes for social security and Medicare, and social insurance premiums, such as workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance.¹⁷

District Attorneys are not the only ones with jurisdiction over the issue of wage theft in New York. The Office of Attorney General, Department of Labor, and private litigators all play critical roles. Since taking office in January 2019, New York State Attorney General Letitia James’ office has announced settlements in a variety of wage theft cases totaling nearly $2 million dollars. The State Department and Commission of Labor both allow employees to submit wage theft claims which are investigated and may result in conflict resolution, requiring the back pay of wages, criminal proceedings or the filing of a civil suit on behalf of employees.¹⁸ In New York City, workers can turn to the Department of Consumer Affairs.¹⁹

Despite all of these city and state resources, workers still aren’t getting the protection they need.²⁰ Moreover, these varied and sometimes parallel agency functions are confusing and inaccessible to most workers who are impacted by wage theft.²¹ Even for those who can successfully navigate these convoluted legal pathways, the inability to recover lost wages is the common thread that runs through all of the current enforcement mechanisms.

We are hopeful that the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office can expand its partnerships with other city and state actors in addressing this issue. By encouraging criminal prosecutions of wage theft and treating them like any other crime, our office can make the chance of being prosecuted for wage theft too high for employers to risk the consequences. However, increasing the frequency of wage theft prosecutions is only one part of our broader plan to change the anti-worker paradigm in the criminal justice system:

Proposal #1: Build a Strong Wage Theft Unit at the Manhattan DA’s Office:

Because of the massive economic harm being caused by wage theft, the Manhattan DA’s office cannot treat it like a side issue. It is time to build a strong Wage Theft Unit, and ensure it has the resources to succeed.

We credit DA Vance’s office for finally beginning to investigate a few wage theft cases under pressure from advocates, but this should be one of the strongest departments at the District Attorney’s office. While the Manhattan DA’s website provides links and resources for numerous crimes under the “Victims Resources” page, wage theft is not one of the listed categories.²² Workers who take the initiative to attempt to contact the DA’s office are able to find the right contact information to file complaints. Moreover, the status quo of passive, reactionary enforcement of wage theft prosecutions has failed and will continue to fail,²³ which is why our office believes in proactively and passionately identifying the D.A. as an ally to fight for workers.

It is also important to note that victims of wage theft and other types of corporate abuse are more likely to have also had an experience with other types of crime. Those who reported suffering from corporate abuse were four and a half times and three times more likely to also have an experience with violent crime and non-violent crime respectively than someone who has not been a victim of corporate abuse.²⁴ By building relationships with these communities, we can help solve crimes beyond wage theft.

In order to build this Wage Theft Unit, we pledge to add lawyers, investigators, and community liaisons to proactively combat wage theft. The issue will no longer be lumped into the Construction Fraud Task Force. We will have dedicated investigation heads monitoring various industries, and direct canvassers to build relationships with workers, unions and advocacy groups in addition to keeping a watchful eye on problematic companies.

Proposal #2: Launch Targeted Investigations into Industries with Wage Theft Histories

By designing a robust and aggressive series of investigations into Manhattan’s worst offenders, we will not only bring workers justice, but establish a deterrent effect among all industries who exploit their workers. The New York Exploited Worker Task Force identified 14 industries with the most egregious violations of wage theft, including nail salons, farming, childcare, cleaning, home health care, laundry, restaurants, retail, construction, landscaping, car washes, supermarkets, janitorial services, truck and waste disposal.²⁵ These industries are a good place to start.

Understanding why wage theft is so prominent in these industries is critical to understanding how we can address it. In New York City, construction workers and those who work in the service industry, particularly restaurants and salons, are among those most impacted because they are often paid in cash and in tips, making them an easy target. Wage theft takes many forms, which is why our office will take an industry-by-industry approach. At present, the risk of being caught for wage theft is low enough that there is a significant economic incentive for employers to engage in it.²⁶ However, by proactively and thoroughly investigating industries across the city, our office can deter employers who might otherwise practice wage theft.

Construction is a $45.3 billion dollar industry in New York City.²⁷ A 2019 review of building permits granted by the New York City Department of Buildings found that the majority of construction jobs are no longer performed by union workers, with nearly 80% being done by “open shop” workers.²⁸ Workers are more at risk for wage theft when they are hired through informal agreements or for short periods of time and rely on verbal agreements rather than formal contracts. Those hired as independent contractors are not protected under the Fair Labor Standards Act, thus allowing employers to avoid paying overtime, provide workers’ compensation protection, and avoid paying taxes on earnings by independent contractors.²⁹ Construction firms often hire day laborers who have recently immigrated to the United States, making them easy targets.³⁰ We support Senate/Assembly Bill A.1261/S.1947 sponsored by Assemblymember Harry Bronson and Senator Jessica Ramos, which amends the labor law in regard to contracts for public work.³¹

Construction companies who engage in wage theft are also more likely to be cited for safety violations.³² A 2017 report released by OSHA found that of the 42 construction companies inspected in 2014 either had a history of wage or overtime violations, 79% also had safety violations. Those 42 companies owed nearly $763,000 in back wages.³³ We credit the District Attorneys across all five boroughs who successfully indicted more than 400 construction companies throughout the city in 2017 whose combined wage theft totaled $2.5 million,³⁴ but more needs to be done.

Construction is far from the only industry experiencing rampant wage theft in New York. Nail salon workers, who are often immigrant women, are among those most vulnerable to wage theft. Despite the introduction of reforms in 2015 following a bombshell New York Times expose,³⁵ nail salon workers continue to experience widespread wage theft. A 2020 report conducted by the New York Nail Salon Workers Association found that four out of five salon workers surveyed were victims of wage theft since the new regulations had been enacted, and 82% of all workers in the industry affected.³⁶ We support Assembly Bill A10042, sponsored by Assemblymember Catalina Cruz, which imposes additional rules and requirements on the licensing of nail salons in New York State.³⁷

Meanwhile, the wage theft experienced by dancers in the adult entertainment industry warrants a separate discussion. The problem is not so much what they are paid, but what they are required to pay. To procure shifts, dancers often pay “house fees” to the establishments they work at. With no oversight, fees can be as high as the employer chooses.³⁸ Dancers are also expected to tip a litany of other workers, including bartenders and bouncers, on top of the fees they’ve already paid. They are often misclassified as independent contractors rather than employees, adding even more room for abuse. This misclassification denies them coverage under the FLSA and other regulations intended to ensure fair wages.

These examples show the different forms wage theft can take, and represent only a fraction of local industries where workers struggle to have their rights protected. Our Wage Theft Unit will focus on several industries at a time, developing expertise in the business area and relationships with workers. By systematically addressing abuse in a particular industry, we will deter those businesses from engaging in abusive practices. And by reforming individual industries, we will send a message to other industries that they might be the next to warrant our scrutiny.

Proposal #3: Enforce Wage Theft Collection

Our Wage Theft Unit would not only bring cases, but ensure that victories are enforced. Workers have successfully won wage theft cases in recent years, but they have struggled to enforce court orders and collect back wages. Despite victories in court, more often than not they are left with no way to enforce the actual collection of the financial judgments they are rightfully entitled to.³⁹

In egregious cases, our office will borrow from the federal monitor approach, placing a highly experienced third party, backed by resources from our office, in a position to hold the employer accountable and issue reports over a period of months or years. This will ensure that not only is compensation for the original wage theft delivered, but that the company’s practices changes. Likewise, our office would be positioned to take further legal action, if necessary, to collect judgments owed or redress further noncompliance. Unfortunately, some employers go so far as to declare bankruptcy and flee or re-open under a different LLC, leaving them legally off the hook.⁴⁰ In proposal #5, we discuss legislation we support to close this loophole.

Proposal #4: Build Community Partnerships

Fostering trust and building relationships with impacted communities is essential if meaningful investigations of wage theft are to occur. Employers who perpetuate wage theft count on workers being too frightened or disempowered to come forward. By building partnerships with community groups, unions, worker centers, legal clinics, prison re-entry groups, and other labor-based organizations, the Manhattan DA can help workers to feel more comfortable coming forward to work with law enforcement.

Advocacy groups such as Make the Road have done incredible work in New York, and we hope that by building strong relationships with such groups, we can work together to promote justice. Increased trust between impacted communities and the District Attorney has impacts beyond wage theft; this confidence can foster a larger cooperation towards solving crime and having faith in government.⁴¹

We applaud the efforts of advocates who successfully pushed for the Freelance Isn’t Free Act, which allows freelancers to recover thousands of dollars in owed wages every year.⁴² While enforcement of the act is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Consumer Affairs, our office will maintain communications with groups representing freelancers, including the Freelancers Union, about unique challenges they face in seeking economic justice. We will also work to address the instances in which unscrupulous companies seek loopholes to avoid paying outstanding contracts- sometimes going as far as claiming bankruptcy and changing LLC’s overnight.

Another critical way to build trust in impacted communities comes from our campaign’s promise to never refer defendants to ICE.⁴³ DA Vance is the only District Attorney in New York City who has referred defendants to ICE.⁴¹ It is exactly this kind of behavior that makes undocumented workers fearful of coming forward with their complaints, and enables employers to exploit that fear.⁴⁴ By making it clear and publicly known from the outset that our office will never coordinate with ICE, we hope to earn community trust.

Finally, our campaign believes the office of the D.A. must not only be transparent, but also recognize that those closest to the problem are often the closest to the solution. We will establish a Community Advisory Board, composed of formerly incarcerated individuals, survivors of crime, law enforcement and other impacted people (included those working for economic justice) so that we may collaboratively and effectively respond to concerns from community members, while also providing the public with desired information about our office’s practices.

Proposal #5: Enforce Existing Worker Protections including New York’s Minimum Wage

Advocates fought incredibly hard to raise the minimum wage during the historic “Fight for 15” campaign which will raise wages for millions of New Yorkers.⁴⁵ Such a sweeping change will require rigorous enforcement. Upon taking office, we will reach out to industries where the $15 wage is prevalent and ensure workers know that they have an ally in law enforcement who will support them.

For far too long New York State has allowed employees who rely on tips to be paid far below the state’s minimum wage. This leaves many tipped workers at risk for wage theft, finding themselves working well below the minimum wage requirements while having their earned tips withheld. For years, New York State did not have a standard “subminimum wage” standard that employers must pay before taking tips into account, leaving some employees with an even lower pay. According to the DOL, in almost two thirds of minimum wage theft cases, employees were earning “subminimum wage” and relying on tips to compensate for the disparity.⁴⁶ Unsurprisingly, minimum wage violations disproportionately impact marginalized communities- the National Employment Labor Project has found that Latino workers, for example, are six times more likely to experience minimum wage violations than white workers.⁴⁷

The DOL is set to implement new policies in 2020 that will address this issue for many workers. We applaud these efforts and hope they are expanded to include all workers who currently earn a subminimum wage. We must also ensure that employers who do not follow the new order are held accountable and employees receive the wages they are rightfully entitled to.

Proposal #6: Publish “Worst Wage Thieves” List

Employers who steal from their workers must be exposed and shamed for their practices. We believe that the negative publicity from being branded a thief alone can be a powerful tool for change. Therefore, in the process of prosecuting wage theft violations, we will follow the watchlist model used by the New York City Public Advocate.⁴⁸ By revealing a list of the ten worst landlords every year, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and his predecessors not only increase public awareness of landlords to avoid, but create an incentive for landlords to improve their conduct, lest they end up on the list. Our office would follow this model in publishing a yearly list of the worst employers found liable for wage theft.

Proposal #7: Support State Legislation that Protects Workers

Finally, our office will support federal, state and local legislation that would protect workers against wage theft and other harmful employer practices. We support the following legislation and programs, some of which have been discussed previously in this paper.

  • A Legal Tool for Victims of Wage Theft to Secure Owed Wages. We support the Senate/Assembly Bill A.486/S.2844, commonly referred to as Securing Wages Earned Against Theft (SWEAT), to amend five sections of New York State’s labor laws for the purpose of increasing the likelihood that workers impacted by wage theft will be able to collect unpaid wages they are rightfully owed.⁴⁹ We are disappointed that Governor Cuomo vetoed this bill in December 2019 but remain hopeful for its passage in 2020.⁵⁰
  • Hold Individual Industries Accountable. We support Assembly Bill A10042, sponsored by Assemblymember Catalina Cruz, which imposes additional rules and requirements on the licensing of nail salons in New York State.⁵¹
  • Support #FundExcludedWorkers: We support Senate Bill S8277B, which would tax billionaires and use the resulting revenue to create a worker bailout fund for workers traditionally excluded from wage protections, including undocumented workers.⁵²
  • Provide Greater Protection to Workers Who Voice Complaints. We support the Empowering People in Rights Enforcement (EmPIRE) Workers Protection Act (EmPIRE Workers Act), S.1848 / A.2265 which allows employees, whistleblowers or organizations to initiate public enforcement actions in a proven way to strengthen the enforcement of labor laws without fearing retaliation.⁵³ California enacted a similar law in 2004 (the Private Attorneys General Act) which has since brought $34.6 billion in revenue from recovered penalties and wages.⁵⁴
  • Ensure Workers Are Correctly Classified and Properly Compensated. Gig workers and other “open shop” workers, including construction workers and adult dancers, are often misclassified as independent contractors which, as previously discussed, is a significant cause of wage theft. Ensuring that these workers are properly classified is the first step to preventing wage theft. We support any legislation that is similar to the ABC Test in California that extends employee classification to any gig workers and other contractors. Additionally, we support Senate/Assembly Bill A.1261/S.1947, sponsored by Assemblymember Harry Bronson and Senator Jessica Ramos, which pushes for the expansion of New York State’s prevailing wage law by expanding the definition and create a statutory definition of “public work,” a significant designation that triggers the prevailing wage requirement.⁵⁵
  • Emulate Successful Legislation from Other Jurisdictions:
    We are inspired by San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin’s recent decision to sue DoorDash for worker misclassification. Though we believe New York law would not allow us to successfully take similar action yet, we support the passage of Senate Bill S6699A, which would codify the ABC rule that California uses to classify workers as employees.⁵⁶ The passage of this bill could allow our office to immediately take legal action against companies which fail to correctly classify workers under the ABC test.⁵⁷
    - New Jersey recently enacted one of the country’s strongest wage theft laws. The New Jersey Wage Theft Act can result in employers having their business licenses suspended or completely revoked, and a fine with the possibility of jail time that increases for repeat offenders.⁵⁸ The law also gives further protection to employees against retaliatory actions, as well as requiring employers found in violation to pay any owed wages in addition to liquidated damages equal to 200% of the original amount owed. We support this legislation and will back any similar bill brought forward in New York State.


It is time for New York City’s two-tiered justice system to be dismantled. Central to that goal is ensuring that employers who steal are held accountable, just as individuals are.

Our legal system thrives on trust, and functions best when employers and employees alike can enjoy their full rights, without fear of retaliation. New York City is home to some of the most profitable industries in the United States, and yet we are failing to ensure that the workers running our city are paid even the minimum wage. This is unacceptable, and our campaign is committed to making this issue a top priority.

In seeking accountability and ending cycles of harm, the best long-term solutions will be found in investments we make outside of the criminal justice system — in areas such as education, health (physical and mental), housing, and economic opportunity. Ensuring that New Yorkers are paid the wages they are owed is a key part of our overall strategy to reform our city’s criminal justice system by investing in people and communities, not prisons.

Wage theft is a complex issue, and as with all of our policy proposals, we welcome and incorporate feedback, especially from those who have been directly impacted, and will maintain this as a living document. Together, we can all build a safer and more just New York.

The Janos Marton for District Attorney campaign believes in the principle that those closest to the problem are closest to the solution, and we will work with community partners to generate our policy agenda. If you have the personal or professional experience to suggest an improvement to this proposal, contact JanosForDA@gmail.com with the subject line, “Wage Theft”.

To learn more about our campaign’s other policy positions visit JanosForDA.com/issues.

Proposal to implement Restorative Justice in Manhattan, by creating accountability and healing without using jail or prison. (July 22, 2020).

Proposal to reimagine our response to intimate partner violence. This change will be part of a much broader approach our office will take to repair the Sex Crimes Unit. (July 7, 2020).

Proposal to generate police accountability by achieving greater independence from the NYPD, holding the NYPD broadly and individually accountable for misconduct, and reducing the role of policing and prosecution. (June 26, 2020.)

Proposal to eliminate solitary confinement for Manhattan defendants. (March 11, 2020.)

Proposal to end the War on Drugs and refocus drug policy enforcement using a public health lens. (January 16, 2020.)

Proposal to abolish the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor. (January 16, 2020.) The Proposal was covered here and here.

Proposal to bringing humanity to prison sentencing by shortening prison sentences, fixing our oppressive plea bargain system, and parole reform. (December 13, 2019.)

Proposal to commit to 80% Decarceration through our many reforms to pretrial detention. (October 20, 2019.)


[1] Names changed to protect their identities, given their undocumented status.

[2] David Cooper and Teressa Kroeger, “Employers Steal Billions from Workers Paychecks Each Year”, Economic Policy Institute, May 10, 2017, https://www.epi.org/publication/employers-steal-billions-from-workers-paychecks-each-year/ (accessed December 26, 2019)

[3] Brady Meixell and Ross Eisenbrey, “Wage Theft is a Much Bigger Problem Than Other Forms of Theft — But Workers Remain Mostly Unprotected,” Economic Policy Institute, September 18, 2014, https://www.epi.org/publication/wage-theft-bigger-problem-forms-theft-workers/ (accessed December 26, 2019)

[4] Luke Darby, “Is Your Employer Stealing From You?”, GQ, November 8, 2019, https://www.gq.com/story/wage-theft (accessed December 26, 2019).

[5] Annette Bernhardt, James DeFilippis & Diana Polson, “Working Without Laws: A Survey of Employment and Labor Law Violations in New York City, “ National Employment Law Project, 2010, https://s27147.pcdn.co/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/WorkingWithoutLawsNYC.pdf (accessed December 28, 2019)

[6] Matthew Fritz-Mauer, “The Ragged Edge of Rugged Individualism: Wage Theft and the Personalization of Social Harm,” ___ University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform ___ (forthcoming)

[7] In speaking of our nation’s history, and Manhattan’s, we must recognize we are on Indigenous Peoples’ land, which Manhattan was the home of the Lenape.

[8] Chris Fuchs, “Wage Theft Cases Can Be Easy to Win. Collecting is a Different Story,” NBC News, June 19, 2019, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/wage-theft-cases-can-be-easy-win-collecting-different-story-n1018306 (accessed March 9, 2020) See also, California Labor Commissioner’s Office, 2017–2018 Fiscal Year Report on the Effectiveness of the Bureau of Field Enforcement, 2019, https://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/BOFE_LegReport2018.pdf (accessed March 10, 2019).

[9] Make the Road New York, for example, very effectively connected directly impacted peoples’ experiences to political leaders and government services in Queens and other parts of the city.
“Coming Up Short: The State of Wage Theft Enforcement in New York,” Make The Road New York & The Center for Popular Democracy, April 2019, https://maketheroadny.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Coming-Up-Short_-The-State-of-Wage-Theft-Enforcement-in-NY-4_8_19.pdf (accessed March 11, 2020)

[10] When we launched this campaign, we pledged to protect immigrants from unjust federal persecution, and that would extend to any undocumented workers collaborating with our office on wage theft enforcement investigations.

[11] Adolfo Flores and Hamed Aleaziz, “Hundreds of Employees Were Arrested in an ICE Raid. The Bosses Went Home Without a Charge,” BuzzFeed News, August 9, 2019, https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/adolfoflores/ice-raids-employers-arrest-charges-immigrants-business (accessed March 10, 2020)

[12] David Cooper and Teressa Kroeger, “Employers Steal Billions from Workers Paychecks Each Year”, Economic Policy Institute, May 10, 2017, https://www.epi.org/publication/employers-steal-billions-from-workers-paychecks-each-year/ (accessed December 26, 2019)

[13] Philip Mattera, “Grand Theft Paycheck: The Large Corporations Shortchanging Their Workers’ Wages,” Good Jobs First and Jobs With Economic Justice Fund, June 2018, https://www.goodjobsfirst.org/sites/default/files/docs/pdfs/wagetheft_report_revised.pdf (accessed December 14, 2020)

[14] Matthew Fritz-Mauer, “The Ragged Edge of Rugged Individualism: Wage Theft and the Personalization of Social Harm,” ___ University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform ___ (forthcoming)

[15] “An Epidemic of Wage Theft Is Costing Workers Hundreds of Millions of Dollars a Year,” Economic Policy Institute, September 11, 2014, https://www.epi.org/files/2014/wage-theft.pdf (accessed December 26, 2019)

[16] “The Social and Economic Effects of Wage Violations: Estimates for California and New York,” Eastern Research Group, Inc., December 2014, https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/OASP/legacy/files/WageViolationsReportDecember2014.pdf (accessed March 10, 2020)

[17] “Empty Judgements: The Wage Collection Crisis in New York,” Community Development Project at the Urban Justice Center, Employment Law Unit at the Legal Aid Society & National Center for Law and Economic Justice, 2015, https://nclej.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Empty-Judgments-The-Wage-Collection-Crisis-in-New-York.pdf (accessed December 14, 2019)

[18] New York State Department of Labor, Worker Protection, Collection of Wages, https://www.labor.ny.gov/workerprotection/laborstandards/workprot/collwage.shtm (accessed March 12, 2020)

[19] New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, Worker Rights, File Workplace Complaint, https://www1.nyc.gov/site/dca/workers/workersrights/file-workplace-complaint.page (accessed March 12, 2020)

[20] Office of the Manhattan District Attorney, “New York City and State Partners Announce Joint Effort to Combat Wage Theft in the Construction Industry,” December 4, 2017, https://www.manhattanda.org/new-york-city-and-state-partners-announce-joint-effort-combat-wage-theft-construction/ (accessed December 16, 2019)

[21] Matthew Fritz-Mauer, “The Ragged Edge of Rugged Individualism: Wage Theft and the Personalization of Social Harm,” ___ University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform ___ (forthcoming)

[22] Office of the Manhattan District Attorney, Victim Resources.https://www.manhattanda.org/victim-resources/

[23] Matthew Fritz-Mauer, “The Ragged Edge of Rugged Individualism: Wage Theft and the Personalization of Social Harm,” ___ University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform ___ (forthcoming)

[24] Jenny Montoya Tansey and Nicolette Del Palacio, “Voices From the Corporate Enforcement Gap: Findings from the First National Survey of People Who Have Experienced Corporate Abuse”, Public Rights Protect, July 2019, https://drive.google.com/file/d/1TSrl-z5nyOuN_r1cX5sPXAxOO1MiIGO6/view (accessed March 16, 2020)

[25] New York State, Joint Task Force on Worker Exploitation and Employee Misclassification, https://www.ny.gov/end-worker-exploitation/task-force-combat-worker-exploitation#industries (accessed March 12, 2020)

[26] Nicole Hallett, “The Problem of Wage Theft,” Yale Law & Policy Review. 37 (2018): 93.

[27] Kathryn Brenzel, “The Anatomy of Construction Corruption,” The Real Deal, April 2018, https://therealdeal.com/issues_articles/the-anatomy-of-construction-corruption/ (accessed March 10, 2020)

[28] Brian Sampson, “New York City is No Longer Just a Union Town; Open Shop Construction Workers are Finding Their Voices and Must Be Heard,” Gotham Gazette, January 2, 2019, https://www.gothamgazette.com/opinion/8169-new-york-city-is-no-longer-just-a-union-town-open-shop-construction-workers-are-finding-their-voice-and-must-be-heard (accessed March 10, 2020)

[29] Kendall Jones, “Fighting Wage Theft in the Construction Industry,” Construct Connect, June 29, 2018, https://www.constructconnect.com/blog/fighting-wage-theft-construction-industry (accessed March 11, 2020)

[30] “Unregulated Work in the Global City,” Brennan Center for Justice, 2007, https://www.brennancenter.org/sites/default/files/legacy/d/download_file_49377.pdf (accessed March 10, 2020)

[31] S.B. S1947, 2019–2020 Legislative Session (New York, 2019). https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2019/s1947 (accessed March 31, 2020)

[32] New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health, Deadly Skyline: An Annual Report on Construction Fatalities in New York State, January 2017, http://nycosh.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/DeadlySkyline2017_NYS-ConstructionFatalitiesReport_final_NYCOSH_May.pdf (accessed March 10, 2020)

[33] New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health, Deadly Skyline: An Annual Report on Construction Fatalities in New York State, January 2017, http://nycosh.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/DeadlySkyline2017_NYS-ConstructionFatalitiesReport_final_NYCOSH_May.pdf (accessed March 10, 2020)

[34] Luis Ferre-Sadurni, “New York Officials Battle Wage Theft in Construction Industry,” The New York Times, December 6, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/06/nyregion/new-york-construction-wage-theft.html (accessed March 10, 2020)

[35] Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, “Governor Cuomo Introduces Legislation and Comprehensive Plan to Protect Nail Salon Workers,” May 18, 2015, https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-introduces-legislation-and-comprehensive-plan-protect-nail-salon-workers-and (accessed March 6, 2020)

[36] “Race to the Bottom: Low Prices & Stolen Wages in NY’s Nail Salon Industry,” New York Nail Salon Workers Association, February 2020, http://workersunitednynj.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Race-to-the-Bottom-FINAL.pdf (accessed March 2, 2020)
According to the NYNSWA, the average loss of wages due to wage theft amounts to $181 per week, or $9,412 per year

[37] A.B. A10042, 2020–2021 Legislative Session (New York, 2020). https://nyassembly.gov/leg/?default_fld=&leg_video=&bn=A10042&term=2019&Summary=Y&Text=Y (accessed March 2, 2020)

[38] Jessica P. Ogilvie, “Strippers = Workers,” Playboy, May 14, 2019, https://www.playboy.com/read/strippers-workers (accessed March 20, 2020)

[39] Hilary M. Goldberg, Nanci K. Carr, and Paul J. Silvia, “Stealing Time: The Propriety of Alleging Common Law Conversion in Modern Wage Theft Lawsuits.” University of Pittsburgh Journal of Law & Commerce. 36 (2017): 1.

[40] Chris Fuchs, “Wage Theft Cases Can Be Easy to Win. Collecting is a Different Story,” NBC News, June 19, 2019, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/wage-theft-cases-can-be-easy-win-collecting-different-story-n1018306 (accessed March 9, 2020)

[41] Matthew Fritz-Mauer, “The Ragged Edge of Rugged Individualism: Wage Theft and the Personalization of Social Harm,” ___ University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform ___ (forthcoming)

[42] Melissa Camire, “NYC Passes Wage Theft Protections For Freelancers; Sharing Economy Employers Take Notice,” Fisher Phillips, October 31, 2016, https://www.fisherphillips.com/gig-employer/nyc-passes-wage-theft-protections-for-freelancers (accessed August 15, 2020)

[43] Stephen Rex Brown, “Manhattan DA Vance Alone Among City’s District Attorneys in Referring Defendants to ICE,” New York Daily News, January 14, 2019, https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/ny-metro-vance-ice-20190110-story.html (accessed March 26, 2020)

[44] “Manhattan DA Refers Defendants to ICE: Report,” Manhattan Times, January 16, 2019, https://www.manhattantimesnews.com/manhattan-da-refers-defendants-to-ice-reportvance-refiere-a-demandados-al-ice-informe/ (accessed March 26, 2020)

[45] New York State, New York State’s Minimum Wage, https://www.ny.gov/new-york-states-minimum-wage/new-york-states-minimum-wage (accessed March 12, 2020).
Tipped food service workers (not including fast food workers, who make $15) will be required to be paid $10/hour by large employers in New York City by 2020, meant to be supplemented by $5/hour in tips.

[46] New York State Subminimum Wage Hearings. Report and Recommendations to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, December 2019, https://www.labor.ny.gov/workerprotection/laborstandards/subminimumwage/subminimum-wage-report-12-31-19.pdf (accessed March 12, 2020)

[47] New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health, NYCOSH Programs, Manhattan Justice for Workers Collaborative, https://nycosh.org/initiatives/manhattan-justice-for-workers-collaborative/ (accessed August 11, 2020)

[48] “NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams Unveils 2019 ‘Worst’ Landlords Watchlist,” PIX11, December 26, 2019, https://www.pix11.com/news/local-news/nyc-public-advocate-jumaane-williams-unveils-2019-worst-landlords-watchlist (accessed December 27, 2019)

[49] S.B. S2844B, 2019–2020 Legislative Session (New York, 2019). https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2019/s2844 (accessed March 11, 2020)

[50] Michael Gartland and Denis Slattery, “Cuomo Vetoes Workers Rights Bill, Vows to Float Revised Version This Year,” New York Daily News, January 2, 2020, https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/ny-cuomo-sweat-act-linda-rosenthal-legal-aid-20200102-fqisxdltknct5aeznasqu7ln5q-story.html (accessed March 11, 2020)

[51] A.B. A10042, 2020–2021 Legislative Session (New York, 2020). https://nyassembly.gov/leg/?default_fld=&leg_video=&bn=A10042&term=2019&Summary=Y&Text=Y (accessed March 2, 2020)

[52] S.B. S8277B, 2019–2020 Legislative Session (New York, 2020) https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2019/s8277 (accessed March 3, 2020)

[53] S.B. S1848A, 2019–2020 Legislative Session (New York, 2019). https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2019/s1848 (accessed March 11, 2020)

[54] “Coming Up Short: The State of Wage Theft Enforcement in New York,” Make The Road New York & The Center for Popular Democracy, April 2019, https://maketheroadny.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Coming-Up-Short_-The-State-of-Wage-Theft-Enforcement-in-NY-4_8_19.pdf (accessed March 11, 2020)

[55] S.B. S1947, 2019–2020 Legislative Session (New York, 2019). https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2019/s1947 (accessed March 31, 2020)

[56] S.B. S6699A, 2019–2020 Legislative Session (New York, 2019). https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2019/s6699 (accessed August 17, 2020)

[57] Carolyn Said, “San Francisco DA Seeks Injunction Against DoorDash To Immediately Classify Workers As Employees,” San Francisco Chronicle, August 13, 2020, https://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/SF-District-Attorney-seeks-to-force-DoorDash-to-15479846.php (accessed August 14, 2020)

[58] S1790 [3R], 218th Legislature, (New Jersey, 2018). https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2018/Bills/S2000/1790_R3.PDF (accessed March 16, 2020)



Janos Marton

Criminal justice advocate. Democratic Candidate For Manhattan District Attorney.