Committee Files Four Lawsuits to Combat Egregious Wage Theft Violations

The Washington Lawyers’ Committee is leading the battle against wage theft. Far too many workers in the Washington region are not paid adequate minimum wages, not paid required overtime hours, or not paid at all. These practices – collectively called wage theft – affect one in four low wage workers. Most workers who are victims of wage theft never recover their lost wages either because they do not know their rights, lack access to have counsel to assist them, or are fearful of retaliation. Undocumented workers are particularly vulnerable despite the fact that they are protected by wage and hour laws regardless of their documentation status.

Along with our clients and firm partners, we have filed individual and class action lawsuits in over 40 cases in the last 7 years. Since 2010, the Committee has recovered 2 million dollars in wages for workers in the construction, restaurant, cleaning, and other industries that too often engage in wage theft.

In the past month alone the Committee has filed 4 new wage theft cases on behalf of 22 clients. In three of these cases, local construction workers were strung along by employers who initially paid them for some of their work, but who soon began to default on payments. For weeks as they continued to work—sometimes even working overtime—our clients’ employers falsely promised they’d be paid. They never were.

In the fourth lawsuit, our client received less than $5,000 for working more than 100 hours every single week for 10 years in a Virginia residence. With the help of a local community advocacy organization, she was able to get out of her abusive workplace, connect with the Washington Lawyers’ Committee, and finally demand payment for years of unpaid labor. 

These cases highlight the rampant exploitation of low wage, immigrant workers within the construction and domestic workers industry, and the pressing need for greater oversight to deter employers from continuing to steal wages from their employees. We stand with these workers to enforce their wage rights under federal and local laws.

For more information about the Committee’s wage theft matters, or if you’ve been subject to wage theft, contact Evelyn Nunez at or 202-319-1000.

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