Wage theft task force approved

Workers and activists protest wage theft last summer

The Board of Supervisors June 5 voted unanimously to create a wage theft task force. The task force will make recommendations to city departments concerning the prevention and correction of wage theft in the city.

Wage theft refers to employers paying less than their employees are due, and can include not paying extra for overtime, not allowing breaks, confiscating tips, and paying less than minimum wage. A 2010 study of labor conditions in Chinatown restaurants conducted by the Chinese Progressive Association (CPA) found that some 76 percent of employees did not receive overtime pay when they worked more than 40 hours in a week, and roughly half were not being paid San Francisco's minimum wage.

The industries where wage theft is prominent range from restaurants and retail to domestic work. 

Approval of the task force is a step forward for groups like CPA that have been working to combat wage theft for years. It builds on the wage theft prevention ordiance, passed last July. The ordinance doubled the fine for employers who retaliate against workers that seek recourse for wage theft, and enhanced the power of the cit's Office of Labor Standards and Enforcement (OLSE).

The Progressive Workers Alliance- a coalition of CPA, Young Workers United, the Filipino Community Center and others- advocated for the task force and helped bring in dozens of supporters to the meeting. 

Workers who suspect that their employers have violated local labor laws often come to these groups for help. Between the OLSA and advocacy groups, the people following up with these claims see a widespread problem. According to Shaw San Liu of the CPA, there are “probably hundreds if not thousands coming forward every year, and there are many more who don’t.” 

“There have been experiments in coordinating with the City Attorney and with the health department to revoke food permits,” said Liu. 

She hopes “the task force will build off these successful examples and see how we can expand them to a more comprehensive strategy.”



needs to be done rather than because you are on the clock. i'm sure Steven and Tim "pout in the hours" and don't quibble about a quarter of an hour here and working through lunch there. We all do it, if we are professioanls, at least some of time, because we care.

If I'm given the choice of hiring or retaining a "can do" guy or a clock watcher, guess which one I choose?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 06, 2012 @ 10:50 am

Great, now you support theft, so I'd guess that you'd have no problem with an employee who was made to work for time that was uncompensated walking off with their employer's computer?

Posted by marcos on Jun. 06, 2012 @ 12:38 pm

and not on the clock. Why would I hire a clock watcher?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 06, 2012 @ 12:48 pm

Because nobody will buy your products so long as there are multitudes of unemployed and your workers are hoarding their cash lest you fire them for being a clock watcher and they end up unemployed as well.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 06, 2012 @ 1:01 pm

what I was saying is that things like this encourage clock watching and not real wealth creation. It's focusing on the wrong thing.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 06, 2012 @ 1:28 pm

You get your wealth creation, 8 hours per day at 1x wage, otherwise it is 1.5x wage, that's not just a good idea, its the law.

Pressuring workers to let you break the law is not legal.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 06, 2012 @ 1:38 pm

much better for the country and the economy than being task-oriented and professional.

Got it.

And thank god I don't live in your world.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 06, 2012 @ 1:56 pm

Most professional employees are salaried, so this is kind of irrelevant to many people in the Bay Area.

Posted by Troll II on Jun. 06, 2012 @ 2:07 pm

The simplest thjing would to be to put everyone on minimum wage and pay the rest in bonuses. Make pay really performance related because, ultimately, only performance can ever create the weath to pay out salaries.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 06, 2012 @ 2:15 pm

Programmers and biochemists are not going to accept being paid minimum wage and getting an enormous bonus every year - especially since they all get bonuses equal to around 25% and above of their salary every year anyway. And companies are not set up to award bonuses on a semi-weekly or monthly basis - many work-based projects have a long completion time anyway and wouldn't lend themselves to something like what you're suggesting.

Posted by Troll II on Jun. 06, 2012 @ 7:58 pm

stock options, which link pay to success of the enterprise. Paying by the hour is an outdated way of rewarding people - far better to pay for results not time. Paying by the hour rewards the slow more than the fast, and the dumb more than the smart.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 07, 2012 @ 5:51 am

That NONE of us would ever consider working for minimum wage with a promise of large option grants. Options are a gamble, salary is money in the bank. And when negotiating salary you can always ask for lower options and higher salary - which I have done on occasion when seeing options as too risky. I've yet to have an employer tell me I wasn't hired because I wanted less options and more salary.

Posted by Troll II on Jun. 07, 2012 @ 3:01 pm

applicant but i know plenty of knowledge workers who work for pitiful salaries because they believe in the company and the product.

That is what differentiates our system from, say, europe, where everyone is a unionized clockwatcher.

I hire a lot and I can tell you I am not remotely interested in anyone who expects to be paid for merely showing up.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 07, 2012 @ 3:11 pm

They're paid for their skills, not per-hour, and they (usually) receive a bonus depending on company performance and how much its judged that they contributed to that performance - in addition to receiving options.

I don't know what you mean by "pitiful" salaries but if a programmer is working for minimum wage and the promise of millions of options in a company which may never go public please give them my email address. I know plenty of companies who'd love to have them at a rate FAR above minimum wage.

Posted by Troll II on Jun. 07, 2012 @ 3:29 pm

get that vital "work experience" and a foot on the ladder. The world has changed and nobody gets paid any more for just showing up, except for the odd doomed municipal worker, perhaps.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 07, 2012 @ 3:47 pm

take action against people who file false claims?

Posted by Matlock on Jun. 06, 2012 @ 1:21 pm

paying your people what they are legally entitled to be paid. And if the boss feels that a worker needs to stay longer to complete the required task, then a professional boss (not a thief) will pay the overtime.

Wage theft is theft. Period.

Posted by Greg on Jun. 06, 2012 @ 7:46 pm

and not to sit there until 5pm and then leap out the door.

Results, not time.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 07, 2012 @ 5:53 am

But if the job requires extra time, then the boss needs to pay extra money. Professionals don't work for free. And professionals don't steal.

Posted by Greg on Jun. 07, 2012 @ 7:38 am

get paid by the minute, take every minute of their breaks, and will work after hours without OT if it gets the job done.

Professionals expect and want to get paid by their results, and not for just showing up.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 07, 2012 @ 8:53 am

There's a name for professionals who steal: criminals

Posted by Greg on Jun. 07, 2012 @ 2:29 pm

that the kind of workers you want to hire are not clock watchers.

So the choice is yours. Present yourself to employers as a clock watcher, or present yourself as a worker who is focused on results.

Wanna guess which Greg I'd hire? Go on, it's not a difficult question.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 07, 2012 @ 2:39 pm

Professionals are defined by our education and training, not by the nature of how we work or get compensated. Salaried employees are compensated differently than hourly employees whether the nature of their work is professional or not, whether they are skilled or not.

Many professionals are compensated hourly as contractors as business seeks to shed obligations associated with FTEs and employers pay them for time worked whether it is 40 hours a week or not. We get paid for what we work, no more, no less.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 07, 2012 @ 9:15 am

While California Labor Code states that No employers shall collect, take or receive any part of the gratuities paid, given or left for an employee, we have to know who the law is protecting if it going to protect them.

Tips must be regarded as belonging to the individual. When tips are errantly regarded as belonging to others besides the individual who was presented such tip, there exists no credible evidence to determine who the tips actually belong to. Let me explain.

When customers tip, they do not leave instructions as to who there tips should be shared among and what portion each should receive. As such, when labor code 351 is misinterpreted as protecing tips of employee's, plural, the law is incomprehensible, meaningless and ununforceable. There exists only one bit of credible evidence to substantiate who the customer's tip is bestowed upon and that evidence is, who did the customer present his tip too? When that evidence is dismissed, there remains no credible evidence to substantiate who tips are bestowed upon, and thus, the law is left incomprehensible, and unenforcable.

Tips must be regarded as bestowed upon individuals. Any other interpretation of tips destoys the protections offered by 351.

Posted by Guest G. Reed on Mar. 12, 2013 @ 3:52 pm

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