Wage Theft Resources

The steps if your employer does not want to pay you or abuses your rights as a worker.

What is wage theft?  

Wage theft is the illegal act of an employer withholding or denying an employee the wages or benefits they are legally entitled to. In simpler terms, it’s when an employer doesn’t pay their workers what they owe them. This can happen in various ways, including: 


Paying less than minimum wage: This is the most straightforward form of wage theft, where an employer intentionally pays their workers below the legal minimum wage. 

Withholding overtime pay: If an employee works beyond their scheduled hours without receiving appropriate overtime pay, that’s considered wage theft. 

Misclassifying employees: Sometimes, employers misclassify employees as independent contractors to avoid paying benefits and overtime. This is illegal if the employee meets the definition of an employee under the law. 

Off-the-clock work: Any work performed without compensation, such as requiring employees to answer emails or complete tasks outside of their scheduled hours, falls under wage theft. 

Deductions: Employers can make legal deductions from wages, but they cannot do so without proper documentation and employee consent. Unlawful deductions, such as taking money for uniform costs without providing uniforms, are also considered wage theft. 

The impact of wage theft can be significant for both individual workers and the economy as a whole. It can lead to financial hardship, job insecurity, and erode trust between employers and employees. 


The steps if your employer does not want to pay you or abuses your rights as a worker.


1. Gather your evidence


How to start 

Talk to your employer or supervisor and show them that there is an error in your pay. Show them that there are hours they owe you (always remember to keep your own records) and ask them to pay you what they owe you. 

If there are other workers affected, talk to the employer together. This way, they will have rights and protections if they are fired or otherwise retaliated against. 


Write this down:  

  • Full company name 
  • Full name of your supervisor or employer. 
  • Address of the work site or street intersection. 
  • Vehicle plates.

If your employer does not want to give you his information, it is possible that he wants to abuse your rights 


Evidence needed to make a claim 

Don’t let it pass you by! If you ever have a problem, you will need this information to make a claim. 

  • What they told you they were going to pay you (per hour or per contract). 
  • Record each payment received and make copies of checks, stubs, and deposits. 
  • Days and hours you worked. 
  • Full name of your boss and the name and address of the company. 
  • Wage Theft Help Resources 



2. Contact an organization for assistance with your case.

Now that you have gathered all your evidence, contact some of these organizations to process your claim:


Office of Labor Standards (Oficina de Normas Laborales)  

For complaints about Seattle labor laws

810 3rd Ave Suite Seattle, WA 98104  





Washington State Department of Labor and Industries   

(Departamento de Labor e Industrias de Washington)  

For complaints about state labor laws

2111 N Northgate Way, Seattle, WA 98133  





City of Tacoma (Gobierno de La Ciudad de Tacoma)  

Tacoma Minimum Wage/Sick Day Law Claims

733 Market St, Salon #21 Tacoma, WA 98402  





US Department of Labor Departamento de Trabajo de Estados Unidos  

For federal labor law claims

300 5th Ave #1202 Seattle, WA 98104  

(206) 398-8039  




City of SeaTac (Gobierno de La Ciudad de SeaTac)  

To file SeaTac minimum wage claims

4899 S. 18th St. SeaTac, WA 98188  





WA Wage Claim Project (Proyecto de reclamo salarial de Washington)  

Group of lawyers who support complaints of wage theft

705 2nd Ave #1200 Seattle, WA  




You can also file a lawsuit through an attorney to resolve your case, but you should not be charged fees until your case is won.

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