Resources for Workers and Worker Advocates
Whether you have experienced wage theft, or if you simply wish to help those who have, this is where you will find a selection of resources to try to resolve an injustice, or to become involved in advocating for those impacted by Wage Theft.
If you are a worker seeking information on what is legal and what is not in regards to employer actions, check out the websites for
If you are a worker seeking to collect wages that are legally due to you, here is a list of possible options.
- Department of Labor - In addition to seeking help from other sources, contact the Wage and Hour Division of either your states Department of Labor or the U.S. Department of Labor. Even though they can take longer than the other options, they are free, and the DOL is the primary entity responsible for resolving these issues. (In past years the enforcement of labor laws has been sporadic at best, however under new leadership this should be improving dramatically) To find out how to contact the appropriate DOL office, the section on collecting a last paycheck on Can My Boss Do That has an excellent tool for finding the appropriate state specific resource. You should also look at the DOL's We Can Help website.
- Worker Centers – Provide a free option, flexible structure, and experienced advocates.
- Interfaith Worker Justice Affiliate Worker Centers
- Jobs with Justice (not every member organization listed will have a worker center)
- National Day Laborer's Organizing Network (Works primarily with day laborers)
- Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (Works primarily with restaurant workers)
- Domestic Worker United (Works primarily with domestic workers)
- Lawyers – A less flexible structure, with experienced legal advocates. If resolved, expect a much longer timeframe to resolve complaints. You can find a lawyer via the ABA Lawyer Locator or you can contact an organization involved in the fight against wage theft and inquire about any legal clinics in your area. You should also review the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) website.
- Unions – If you are already a union member, they will likely be your best advocates.
No matter what you may do, do it as soon as possible. Over time employers may leave town, documents are more likely to be lost, and most importantly the federal statute of limitations may run out for your case.
If you are seeking ways to become involved in the issue of Wage Theft, please consult with the nearest Worker Center or Religion with Labor Group. Click here to go to an interactive map from which you can find the organization closest to you.
Download and read Broken Laws, Unprotected Workers: Violations of Employment and Labor Laws in America's Cities, a report produced by the Center for Urban Economic Development, UIC, National Employment Law Project (NELP), and the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment.
Download and read the IWJ Wage Theft Toolkit to learn:
- How to talk about Wage Theft to Policy Practitioners, Unions, the Media, Religious Groups, and Students
- How to Organizing a Wage Theft Delegation
- Also includes A Guide for Workers
Download and read the Worker Justice Immersion Toolkit to learn how to develop a program to immerse participants in the intersections of faith and worker justice. This toolkit can be used by anyone: students, congregations, universities, campus ministries, seminaries, religious leaders, or non-profit organizations. Whether you have a few hours or a full week, this toolkit has an abundance of materials to guide you through the process of developing a worker justice immersion experience.
Visit the following Resource pages:
- Interfaith Worker Justice (IWJ) Resource page
- Faith-specific resources
- Study guides
- Holiday resources
- National Day Laborer's Organizing Network (NDLON) Resource page
- Drafting Day Labor Legislation: A Guide for Organizers and Advocates
- Levantando Nuestras Voces/Lifting Our Voices: Leadership Development Manual Vol. 2
- A Checklist for Progressive Worker Centers and Hiring Halls
- The Components of a Day Labor Worker Center Model
- Research Studies on Day Laborers
- Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC) Resource page
- Find comprehensive restaurant industry studies for Chicago, Metro Detroit, New Orleans, and Maine, and a national executive summary
- Domestic Workers United Resource page
- Standard Guidelines for domestic workers
- Standard Contract (Full-time)
- Agency survey