WHITE COLLAR CRIME – AN OVERVIEW OF WORKPLACE THEFT
|W. David Denton
Denton Law Firm
555 Jefferson Street
Paducah, Kentucky 42001
WHITE COLLAR CRIME IMPACT ON BUSINESSES AND EMPLOYEES: AN OVERVIEW OF WORKPLACE THEFT
The American Dream is still alive and most people believe that if they just work hard, they can be successful. They can own a nice home, go on annual vacations, send their children to the best schools, and put money aside for retirement.
To achieve this dream, small business owners invest funds and work long hours knowing this will pay off with financial security into their future. They pay little attention to how employee theft might shatter those dreams and send them into bankruptcy.
On the other hand, employees are generally satisfied with their employee benefit plans. They know that the withholding from their wages for their 401K plans will provide them funds for their retirement. It never dawns on them that their employer may not be depositing the funds as required by law, but using them for his or her own benefit.
Although these are crimes according to Kentucky law, they fall into the category of “white-collar crimes.” What is a white-collar crime and what can you do about it if it happens to you?
White Collar Crime
White collar crimes are a class of non-violent crimes usually committed in commercial situations for financial gain. The term includes crimes ranging from embezzlement by employees to ways that employers steal from employees.
If you are a victim of this type of theft, or any other incident that falls under Kentucky’s theft by deception statute, the state may prosecute the individual or individuals who stole from you. But, a criminal conviction does not result in the return of your funds.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that 75 percent of all employees have stolen at least once from their employer. Half of those steal repeatedly. One-third of all business failures can be attributed to employee theft. More than half of embezzlers are managers.
Theft is not limited to employees stealing money, but includes the use or misuse any of an employer’s assets. In addition to money, this includes the taking of supplies, merchandise, time, or ideas, without the employer’s permission.
An employee, who is caught stealing, has generally been doing so for at least two years. The most common way for an employee to get caught is by a tip to the employer from another employee.
People generally do not think about how an employer can be stealing from the employee. In addition to keeping withheld wages instead of depositing them in the appropriate accounts, a few examples of how employers can steal from their employees include:
- Failure to pay legally mandated overtime wages.
- Classifying an employee as a manager in order to avoid paying overtime wages.
- Inaccurately classifying an employee as an independent contractor so the employer does not have to provide certain benefits such as health insurance or workers’ compensation benefits. The employer does not have to pay overtime or even minimum wage. compensation
- Requiring some work to be off-the-clock in order to avoid paying for the time. Examples are when setting up for a meeting or training session. Another example is requiring a worker to be present and wait for work, but not being paid for the waiting time.
- Failure to pay tipped workers the accurate amount due them. This is often done by illegally deducting the credit card processing fee from tips added to a credit card.
More to Come
At the Denton Law Firm, we are concerned about the losses suffered by both employers and employees when they discover they have been victims of this type of theft. Contact us for assistance. We will review the facts of your case and determine if we can help you recover funds that were wrongfully taken from you. Call our office and speak to Mr. William Pinkston, Mr. Ron Jackson, or Mr. Cody Walls for more information about workplace theft and remedies.
This article presents an overview of theft by deception in the workplace. Watch this space for more information on how to recognize and prevent both employee and employer theft.