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Avoiding overtime in media and facts about wage theft

The FBI estimates that there is about $12.7 billion lost to property crime every year, and some experts put the total amount stolen from employees as $15 billion per year, meaning that employers likely steal more money from people every year than every burglar in the nation put together. Some employees are more vulnerable than others -- service workers and the working poor are among the hardest hit. In California, some employers ask workers in the media to bill differently in order to avoid paying overtime.

A person who works more than 40 hours per week is typically paid time and a half for any hours worked over 40. When an employer asks a worker to report their time in different ways to avoid paying that overtime, they are likely breaking the law. The worker is not legally allowed to waive the overtime, and the employer is obligated under state law. 

Wage theft is extremely common, and most of those affected live below the poverty line. Companies rely on a worker's aversion to a lengthy and potentially expensive legal battle and their fear of retaliation, so that many instances of theft are not reported. Some legal loopholes allow an employer to avoid paying, even if the case is won by closing the business, but those laws are changing. 

In California, a worker who has been the victim of wage theft or stolen overtime may choose to report to the state. The employee also has the right to sue the employer. A person who chooses that route may want to hire an attorney for their wealth of experience and knowledge on the topic. 

Source: knock-la.com, "Clock In For Your Daily Mugging - Wage Theft In the Media Industry", Bushido Squirrel, Dec. 7, 2017

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