Wage theft victims have little chance of recouping pay in Illinois

August 9, 2017


... Stricter notification requirements as well as recent labor department policies have made dismissals more likely, especially for low-wage and immigrant workers. For example, the department will dismiss a case when it can’t locate a worker – and low-income and immigrant workers tend to be more transient and are more likely to change phone numbers. Also, workers, instead of the labor department, are now required to send copies of their evidence to their employer – creating an added expense.


“Some workers don’t know the real name of their employer or how to find their address or phone number,” said Carmen Cabrera, an organizer with the Chicago Workers’ Collaborative, another workers center. “These people know how to work with their hands, and that’s it … It’s impossible for some of them to stay on top of their cases, especially if they’re looking for a new job.”


In a written statement, a labor department spokesman said, “The new forms have helped provide clarity for workers on their rights and responsibilities, improved the processing of claims internally, and contributed to the reduced number of cases filed per year.”


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