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Employees too afraid to challenge employers over unpaid wages

All employees have certain fundamental rights which should be honored by their employers. Workers are entitled to adequate wages, fair treatment and a safe and comfortable work environment. Unfortunately, many workers in Indiana suffer poor working conditions, overly long hours and unjustifiably low pay. When workers are paid less than owed it can be hugely detrimental to their well-being, but many fear to challenge employers in case they lose their jobs altogether.

Several cases across the U.S. have resulted in investigations by the Wage and Hour division of the Labor Department. For example, employees of Los Angeles firm Recycling Innovations were allegedly forced to lie to investigators about the company's pay practices. The employer is even reputed to have threatened employees with physical violence if they failed to cooperate.

In another case, in Massachusetts, employees of Boston Hides and Furs were hidden from federal investigators in a nearby house. Workers at the tannery were working six days a week, for at least 10 hours each day, receiving below the minimum wage. When investigators returned at a later date and were able to interview some of these employees, 10 abruptly lost their jobs.

Others include a restaurant in Cincinnati which had agreed to back-payments following accusations of minimum wage violations. The establishment fired three kitchen staff who refused to return their checks. These are but a few examples of unjust treatment of workers across the U.S. leaving them in fear of retaliation if they should speak out.

Workers in Indiana can learn from these examples. Employers must be held accountable for the unfair treatment of their workers or the problem cannot be overcome. If you have been a victim of wage theft or other unreasonable treatment at the hands of your employer, it is vital that you stand your ground. An attorney may be able to assist you in building your case and bringing your employer to justice.

Source: Tucson Sentinel, "Fear stifles wage abuse complaints," Myron Levin, May 19, 2014

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