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Labor Exploitation

  • All employees have rights which are protected by State law.
  • Employers are required to pay minimum wage, provide Workers' Compensation Insurance, pay overtime, and provide safe working conditions. Employers are also required to pay employees within a certain time period after the work is completed.
  • Most of these requirements are enforced by the State Labor Commission; however, if the employer fails or refuses to pay an individual, this may constitute a criminal violation.
  • If you believe that you have been victimized by your employer, you may file a claim with the Labor Commission. The Labor Commission will investigate your claim, and if it decides in your favor, the Commission will help you to get the wages owed to you.

Criminal Prosecution

  • If your employer has failed to pay you for your work, you should contact the Police Department. Your case will be evaluated to determine if the employer committed a theft.
  • If a theft occurred, the case will be investigated. The investigator will attempt to recover your losses. If this is not possible, it may become necessary for you to testify in court against your employer.
  • If your case is determined NOT to be a criminal violation, the Police Department will refer you to the Labor Commission for assistance. You will be provided with a claim form, and, if necessary, you will be assisted in completing the form.


The best way for you to protect yourself from exploitation by an employer is to record the following important information about your employers and your work.

  • Employers' name
  • Employers' address
  • Employers' telephone number
  • Job location(s)
  • Names of other employees
  • Dates and times that work was performed

This information will assist the Police Department and the Labor Commission in processing your claim and obtaining restitution.

Immigration Status

The most frequent victim of labor exploitation is the undocumented alien. Due to language barriers, lack of information, and fear of deportation, these victims often do not ask for help. An undocumented worker may fear the possibility of deportation. Making a police report, or filing a claim, will not increase that risk.

Referral Information