Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wage Theft is a Crime: Sign the Petition

Each year, thousands of workers in Shelby County, and millions of workers across the country, are victims of wage theft. Too many employers break the law by not paying workers for hours, days, or even weeks' worth of labor that they've already performed.

It's time to bring the crime of wage theft out of the shadows and into the light of day. A hard day's work should equal a fair day's pay.

That's why Workers Interfaith Network is pressing Shelby County Sheriff Mark Luttrell and District Attorney Bill Gibbons to do their part to stop wage theft. Right now, if workers don't get paid, in most cases all they can do is file a complaint with a government agency, or pay a lawyer to represent them in court. This process can take months or even years, and most workers who experience wage theft don't have money for a lawyer.

But Sheriff Luttrell and Attorney Gibbons can help stop this problem. They can use an existing state law, the Tennessee Theft of Services Act, to recognize wage theft as a crime. This would mean workers could file criminal charges against employers who refuse to pay them for their work.

WIN has presented a proposal to the Sheriff's Department, which they expressed interest in. However, we have not been able to obtain a second meeting to move forward on the proposal. You can push Sheriff Luttrell and Attorney Gibbons to act on this important matter by signing our online petition to them at

If you're not signed up for WIN's email list yet, do it today. You'll get updates and action alerts on the wage theft is a crime campaign. Plus, this month all new email subscriptions are being entered into a drawing for a free $20 gift card to, an excellent worker-friendly book store. Sign up for email alerts at

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