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Ranking firms that are the worst perpetrators of wage theft



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Technology has made us more connected than ever and that means the ability to work anywhere. Unfortunately, that means that wage theft where employees are expected to work after hours is pervasive in corporate America. Even with an increasing trend around work-life balance and wellness in attracting talent big banks and insurers are among the worst perpetrators.

According to a new report by Good Jobs First, many large corporations operating in the United States have boosted their profits by forcing employees to work off the clock, cheating them out of required overtime pay and engaging in similar practices that together are known as wage theft.

The researched analysed federal and state records in the United States that showed corporations have paid out US$8.8 billion to resolve more than 1,000 wage theft class action lawsuits since 2000.

Walmart, long associated with such practices, has paid the most, but the list of the most-penalised employers also includes Bank of America, Wells Fargo and other large banks and insurance companies as well as major technology and healthcare corporations. Many of the large corporations are repeat offenders; 450 firms have each paid out $1 million or more in settlements and/or judgments.

“Our findings make it clear that wage theft goes far beyond sweatshops, fast-food outlets and retailers. It is built into the business model of a substantial portion of Corporate America,” said Good Jobs First research director Philip Mattera, lead author of the report in a press statement.

Among the dozen most-penalised corporations, Walmart, with $1.4 billion, is the only retailer. Second is FedEx with $502 million. Half of the top dozen are banks and insurance companies, including Bank of America ($381 million); Wells Fargo ($205 million); JPMorgan Chase ($160 million); and State Farm Insurance ($140 million).

Retailing is the industry with the highest aggregate penalties ($2.7 billion), followed by financial services ($1.4 billion); freight and logistics ($828 million); business services ($611 million); and insurance ($557 million).

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