Cincinnati Council Passes New Anti-Wage Theft Ordinance

CINCINNATI — Workers in Cincinnati now have additional protections from various forms of wage theft. The city council passed an ordinance to enhance Ohio’s existing wage theft laws.

Under the new law, if the city or another agency determines a company committed wage theft, city officials have the ability to return the money illegally withheld from an employee, and the company will be barred from doing business with the city, according to reports in The Cincinnati Enquirer.

The city could also fine the company in certain circumstances.

Wage theft is a nationwide problem, and frequently affects low-paid workers, immigrant workers and undocumented workers.

The National Employment Law Project reported in a prior study that Staples had to fork over $42 million in unpaid wages to its assistant store managers, New Jersey truckers recovered $2 million in unpaid overtime and New York City car wash workers – “carwasheros” whom the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union is organizing – were shorted $3.5 million until pro-worker attorneys and New York’s state attorney general pursued the violators.

Walmart also has millions of dollars in unpaid overtime to its workers in at least half a dozen states.

“The Cincinnati Wage Theft Ordinance will make it far more difficult for contractors that violate Ohio’s prevailing wage law and defraud their employees of their wages from bidding on projects with the City of Cincinnati,” said Rob Dorans, legal counsel for Affiliated Construction Trades (ACT) Ohio.

Dorans called the legislation an extremely positive step forward to encourage all contractors to follow the law and meet their obligations to pay their employees fair wages and benefits. He said the ordinance, passed 7-2, is a significant victory for all workers. Wage theft is rampant there, Dorans explained.

Source: PAI