To demonstrate the impact of wage theft in America, the institute compared the amount of money or goods stolen in robberies, gas station hold-ups, and other forms of theft to what was actually recovered in wage theft lawsuits or complaints. In 2012, the reported thefts that the Federal Bureau of Investigation tallied amounted to $340.9 million. Though no one tracks how much money employees lost from wage theft in that year, the institute did compile how much was recovered through litigation.
The total in 2012 was at least $933 million — almost triple that of other forms of theft. And that didn’t even include data from fives states and five attorneys general. Wage theft cases are somewhat common and most recently affected the Papa John’s brand when a franchise owner in New York was ordered to pay $800,000 in back wages to employees in seven pizza shops in Brooklyn and Queens.