Wage Theft in the Building Industry

If you’re a journeyman construction worker, you may have heard about the latest challenge facing construction workers: wage theft.

Legitimate employers aren’t the problem, of course. But the problem has become common enough in the Denver area that the City Council there recently passed an ordinance making it a crime to “knowingly refuse to pay a wage or compensation to a worker or falsely deny the amount of a wage owed, the validity thereof, or that the same is due.”

The state already has a law prohibiting wage theft by employers. But the state only prosecutes instances of theft in excess of $2,000. The city ordinance covers theft of smaller sums, a response to an increase in reports of workers not receiving what the boss agreed to pay them.

“The average minimum wage worker loses approximately $3,300 per year due to wage theft, according to a survey conducted by the Economic Policy Institute,” as reported by Colorado Newsline. “The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment received 550 reports of wage theft in Denver in 2020, according to a city press release, but only 340 were claims of less than $2,000 and therefore were not criminally prosecuted.”

The new city law would make prosecution of such cases possible.

For the construction worker, especially someone new to the industry, signing on with the wrong crew can be a setup for wage theft. One way to protect yourself is to instead go through a staffing service like Apprentice Personnel. We will ensure that your compensation goes into your pocket, not anyone else’s.

Temp agencies that specialize in placing journeymen will also likely have the low-down on who pays and who withholds. So don’t come out on the short end of a paycheck after a hard week on the jobsite. Get connected with the right staffing service that has your best interests as its top priority.

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