Volume 31

Wage Theft Prosecution: How Prosecutors Can Help Workers and Create More Widespread Adoption

by Wayne A. Comstock

Wage theft is a problem affecting workers around the world, including the United States. Wage theft not only affects workers generally; it disproportionately affects low-wage workers. While there has been a lack of criminal prosecution historically, some jurisdictions changed direction in recent years by enacting stricter wage theft laws and prosecuting wage theft as a criminal offense. However, the change in direction comes with challenges for both workers and prosecutors and criticisms that the criminal justice system is not the appropriate vehicle through which to seek redress. In order to address the challenges and criticisms associated with wage theft prosecution, help workers, and create more widespread adoption, this Note will conclude by proposing that prosecutors enact four directives: (1) implementing an office-wide policy, (2) creating dedicated units, (3) collaborating with other institutions, and (4) targeting specific industries.

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