An investigation by Workday Minnesota has found wage theft in Minnesota is larger and more widespread than most people realize – and the problem is growing. Over the past several months, we interviewed scores of workers, community activists, union representatives, public officials and more. We pored over five years of data on wage theft cases from the state Department of Labor and Industry(link is external). We searched the academic literature and examined numerous studies.
Our investigation was spurred in part by ideas raised by some state and local officials to improve enforcement of current laws against wage theft. Despite these discussions, few people are aware of wage theft or understand its impact.
“It’s very widespread, but it’s not very well-understood,” notes Aaron Sojourner, a labor economist and assistant professor in the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management(link is external). “A lot of people don’t even know that it’s happening to them, because it’s done in a sneaky way or it’s done in a way that they don’t recognize it as a violation.”