By: Poonam K. Lakhani
Chicago is now the largest city in the nation with anti-wage theft legislation. On January 17, 2013, the City of Chicago passed an ordinance stating that should a business owner be found guilty of wage theft, the business owner's business license could be revoked. The new ordinance was championed by Alderman Ameya Pawar(47th Ward) and Arise Chicago Worker Center.
Under both federal and state law, it is currently illegal to withhold an employee's wages, fail to pay overtime, or pay below minimum wage. Employees are entitled to recover their wages, statutory damages and attorneys' fees. Now, employers can also lose their business license for violating wage laws.
Often, employers inadvertently violate wage laws because they do not adequately understand what they can and can't do. Most often, employers are guilty of delaying payments, failing to pay owed overtime, or misclassifying workers. In order to protect your business, it is a good idea to consult an attorney and review your payroll practices every year or so to ensure that your business is following the law.