Unfortunately, these laws have had minimal effect because they misunderstand the nature of the problem: the probability of being caught for wage theft is so low that it makes economic sense for employers to commit wage theft on a massive scale. €Before this law, employees could only file a claim with the Virginia Department of Labor and Along with a number of other employer friendly laws passed this summer (Values Act and Wage Theft Law), Virginia has joined Maryland in prohibiting non-compete agreements with certain “low” wage workers.What is a non-compete agreement? However, the Wage Theft Law now excuses the employer from criminal liability if the employer’s failure to pay wages was due to a bona fide dispute between the employer and employee. By clicking "accept" you confirm that you have read and understand this notice. This new law, which becomes effective on July 1, 2020, dramatically alters Virginia’s wage and hour landscape in the following ways: New Private Right of Action: Currently, Virginia employees cannot sue their employers directly for … Wage theft is the illegal underpayment or nonpayment of a worker’s wages. While some wage deductions are acceptable under the law, some items may be considered illegal wage deductions in Virginia. Virginia Enacts New “Wage Theft Law,” Creating Private Right of Action for Unpaid Wages. Earlier this year, the State of Virginia amended its labor code to give real teeth to its wage theft law. Previously, the labor agencies were limited to investigating individual complaints that were filed by workers. New Minimum Wage and Overtime Laws Further Expand Virginia Employee Rights. Before this law, employees could only file a claim with the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry. On April 12, 2020, Virginia Gov. The new wage theft law also has “teeth” in that it grants all Virginia employees the right to file suit against their employer, individually or collectively, to recover unpaid wages. New Remedies: Previously, Virginia law permitted an employee to recover all wages due plus pre-judgment interest. The department may broaden its investigation to include additional employees (whether or not those employees have actually made a complaint of nonpayment of wages), and violations not previously asserted by the employee who filed a complaint. As it did previously, the Wage Theft Law also carries potential criminal penalties for violations made willfully and with the intent to defraud. © Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved by Herrmann Law, PLLC. Wage theft is the broad term that included unpaid overtime, failure to pay for all hours … A misdemeanor conviction carries a potential jail term of up to 12 months; a felony conviction can result in a jail term of more than a year. A “wage theft law” that went into effect in July improved workers’ ability to sue employers over wage theft by amending existing employment laws. This significantly expands the department’s investigatory authority and inflates the risk to employers, as a single complaint could result in a sitewide or even statewide investigation with commensurate recovery and penalties. Virginia’s “Wage Theft Law” Authorizes Threefold Liquidated Damages and FLSA-Styled Collective Action Treatment of Employees’ Claims In HB 123, the “Wage Theft Law” creates a novel, private right of action for employees to sue employers for unpaid wages. We may not respond to unsolicited emails and do not consider them or attached information confidential. The new law does create a new exception for potential criminal liability where the failure to pay wages is based on a legitimate legal dispute between the employer and the worker. Employers in Virginia are obligated to follow certain rules mandated by the Fair Labor Standards Act, and violations are treated seriously. RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Laborers hired to work on some of Virginia’s major construction projects, including the new General Assembly Building and Virginia Commonwealth University’s new outpatient facility in Richmond, are accusing the subcontractors that employed them of wage theft in two federal … If your employer has not paid you properly or on time, you may be entitled to recover not only your unpaid wages, but also penalties intended to punish your employer for wage theft. The Wage Theft Law grants all Virginia employees the right to hold employers accountable in court, along with other rights. Prior to the amendments, wage theft by employers in Virginia was prosecuted by state labor agencies and recovery was limited to the stolen wages and prejudgment interest. This summer, members of the Eastern Atlantic States’ Regional Council of Carpenters, the local carpenters union, began holding signs on VCU’s campus, accusing the university of wage theft. Unlike the Wage Theft Law, however, HB 337 and SB 48 do not create a private right of action; employees who believe they have been the subject of retaliation may file a complaint with the commissioner of the Department of Labor and Industry, who may institute proceedings on their behalf. If the amount owed is more than $10,000, or if an employer has similar previous offenses, that employer can be found guilty of a felony and subject to a corresponding prison sentence. If, during the course of an investigation into an employee’s complaint of an employer’s failure to pay wages, the Department of Labor and Industry obtains information that gives it a “reasonable belief” that the employer failed to pay wages to other employees in accordance with the law, the department may expand its investigation. 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