Getting Workers What They’re Owed

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Note: Shortly after this report was published, DOLI acknowledged that the wage-claim data it had originally provided to LAJC was incomplete: DOLI did not disclose to LAJC any information about cases where the agency had ordered an employer to pay a fine or back wages but then failed to collect in full. DOLI has since provided some information about these cases, but not in time for it to be incorporated into this report. please email info@justice4all.org with any questions. 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DATE: December 4, 2019
Contact: Jeff Jones
Director of Communications
jeff@justice4all.org
(804)869-1040

 

The Virginia Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI) is Failing Workers Who Are Victims of Wage Theft

A new report from the Legal Aid Justice Center cites new data and uncovers policies that prevent workers from getting what they’re owed.

Richmond, VA— The Legal Aid Justice Center (LAJC) has released a new report: Getting Workers What They’re Owed: Why Virginia’s Department of Labor and Industry Must Reform its Wage-claims Process.

The report examines never-before-seen data from DOLI showing how, due to the agency’s unusual and unnecessary internal policies, workers are being denied wages they have earned.

LAJC analyzed data it obtained under Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act showing that of the nearly 4,000 wage complaints that DOLI has closed in the past 4 years (totaling over 11 million dollars in claimed wages), DOLI rejected nearly half of them without conducting any investigation whatsoever.  DOLI also dismissed almost one-third of all claims under various internal policies that defy common sense and deny basic fairness to victimized workers. By contrast, DOLI actually recovered wages for the worker in only 18% of cases and required employers to pay a fine in just 9 cases (0.22%).

“Virginia’s workers are only asking to be paid their fair wages after doing their jobs,” said report author Nicholas Marritz. “And for that to happen, they need DOLI to do its job too.”

The report details the policies that prevent DOLI from being effective in getting Virginia workers what they are owed and makes suggestions for reform. It also includes the voices of affected workers.

Read/download the report here: Getting Workers What They’re Owed – Report