Angela Carella: Workers get $6.5 million their bosses didn’t pay them

From the StamfordAdvocate — “The Wage & Workplace Standards Division gets about 4,000 complaints a year, said the director, Gary Pechie. Most are from workers in the construction industry, service industries such as hotels and restaurants, and the transportation industry employing taxi, limo and tractor-trailer drivers, Pechie said.

“I don’t think people understand how tremendously workplaces have changed since the recession,” Pechie said. “There’s a lot of shenanigans going on.”

After the recession hit hard in 2008, many workers lost jobs, had their hours or pay cut, and relinquished raises, bonuses and promotions.Unscrupulous employers took advantage of workers’ fears for their livelihoods. They also took advantage of the law.

By 2010 the Wage & Workplace Standards Division had stepped up investigations into reports of employers not only underpaying or failing to pay workers, but paying them in cash to avoid income taxes and Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insurance; classifying employees as independent contractors to avoid paying workers’ compensation insurance; using unlicensed trade workers; exploiting undocumented workers; and ignoring safety regulations.”

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