Martinez, Calif – On June 17th, 2022, Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton and U.S. Department of Labor Assistant District Director for San Jose Alberto Raymond formalize a partnership to combat wage theft and protect workers’ rights.
Both agencies commemorate the agreement by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at the District Attorney’s Office in Martinez. The MOU means the DA’s Office will be devoting resources to prosecute criminal wage theft cases to curtail labor trafficking, unfair business practices, payroll tax evasion, and wage and hour violations. To do this, District Attorney Becton will create a Workplace Justice Unit that’s committed to a fair and equitable workplace.
Becton noted, “While the DA’s Office and the Department of Labor have had an informal relationship on human labor trafficking and wage theft cases since 2014, this Memorandum of Understanding marks the start of a formal five-year partnership to continue our efforts to seek justice for victims of crime.”
Wage theft affects victims in various ways – and at all income levels. Some workers are denied overtime or are paid less than the minimum wage per hour. Some employers also refuse to pay bonuses, vacation pay, or reimbursement of business expenses. According to investigations by the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division in 2021, U.S. workers were denied over 230-million dollars in back pay.
“Cooperation between federal and local agencies is critical in the fight against all forms of wage theft here in Contra Costa County and elsewhere in the country,” Assistant District Director Raymond said. “The formal renewal of this longstanding partnership highlights our determination and commitment to combat wage theft and to hold their perpetrators accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”Wage theft is a felony punishable by up to three years in jail. Employers caught stealing from their employees may be personally liable for unpaid wages and face criminal asset forfeiture actions.
In addition to investigating and prosecuting cases, both agencies will conduct community outreach programs to inform the public about reporting wage theft — as well as provide resources for employers to help them follow labor and payroll tax laws.
If you are a victim of wage theft, call 1-866-4-USWAGE or contact the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office at: [email protected].