“Each year, more than $1 billion is stolen from the pockets of hardworking New Yorkers by unscrupulous employers, often targeting the workers with the fewest resources to fight back,” Rosenthal said. “If businesses refuse to do the right thing and pay their workers what they are owed, New York State should hold them to account.”

The first, S8451, would empower the New York State Liquor Authority to suspend liquor licenses for bars and restaurants that the Department of Labor has determined owe more than $1,000 in back wages to their workers. According to Documented and ProPublica’s analysis, more than $52 million has been stolen from people working in restaurants in New York, more than in any other industry. The amount of back wages accounted for more than 25% of all reported wage theft in the state. Similar measures have been successful in other parts of the country, including Santa Clara County in California, which has recovered $110,000 for workers since 2019.

The second bill, S8452, would enable the Department of Labor to place a stop-work order on any business that has a wage theft claim of at least $1,000. This approach has proven successful in other states, such as New Jersey, which temporarily shut down 27 Boston Market restaurants and eventually recovered more than $630,000 in back wages for 314 workers. Boston Market did not respond to a request for comment.

The third bill, S8453, allows the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance to suspend a business’s certificate of authority — which allows it to collect sales tax and conduct business — in cases where wage theft exceeds $1,000.

  • Pennomi
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    443 months ago

    Can’t abide by business law? Can’t run a business. Seems fair enough.

  • @[email protected]
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    303 months ago

    Even suspending their businesses seems like a light penalty for stealing tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars—anyone else would be facing prison time.

    • Jaysyn
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      123 months ago

      Gotta steal from the rich for financial crimes to land you in prison, donchaknow.

  • @[email protected]
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    253 months ago

    Wage theft should be penalized in a way that includes paying the victim back like 10x. The opportunity cost from lost wages is huge.

    • @[email protected]
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      73 months ago

      I would also like to see some jail time, as occurs with all other thefts in those amounts and with that much evidence.

    • @[email protected]
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      23 months ago

      Yea, “making all the other workers unemployed” as a response isn’t really equitable. Make it economically unfeasible but “I fucked up your time card, here’s $100” is better than “I fucked up your time card, get a new job.”

      Companies that thrive off the practice get wrecked, mistakes still have substantial payouts to ensure compliance.

  • @[email protected]
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    203 months ago

    Fuck the private restaurant business. Just tons of fuckery on taxes and wages. From underreporting tips to working off the clock to writing off trips to France as a “business expense”. Glass of wine or 3 at a vineyard and now it’s a wine-buying-and-research trip.

      • @[email protected]
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        3 months ago

        My reference was to the difference between chain restaurants vs named restaurants that there may be very few of. Some place like Friday’s is run completely different than Casa Maya Taqueria.

  • @[email protected]
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    53 months ago

    I was wondering how the thieves, who might be mismanagers in general too, would ever pay back employees if they get shut down.

    Fifteen days could be enough, though. The successes in Santa Clara County & New Jersey are promising!

  • @[email protected]
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    23 months ago

    I’d rather see personal consequences for the managers that actually committed the crimes, but penalizing the businesses is a start.