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Fresno D.A. fights wage theft

Laborer in the field.
Laborer in the field.
(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

The Fresno County District Attorney's Office is leading a fight against dishonest employers who commit wage theft, which is keeping or not paying wages to employees who are owed and deserve them. In 2009, 313 judgments were issued against employers in Fresno County, up from 242 in 2008 and 171 in 2007, according to the State Labor Commissioner's Office.

The spike in judgments is largely attributed to the economy and the recession, the effects of which are felt hard all throughout Fresno County.

The push for the new crackdown was instigated by the local executive director of Central California Legal Services, a not-for-profit legal advocacy group, Chris Schneider.

According to the Fresno Bee, this effort is not just localized. The Labor Commissioner's Office and the California Department of Industrial Relations, of which the Commissioner's Office is a part, are reaching out to district attorney's in metropolitan areas around the state, including Los Angeles and San Fransisco.  

"As the economy  worsens, we are seeing wage theft go up. Something has to be done", says Schneider. (quote taken from the Fresno Bee, "Fresno Co. prosecutors zero in on employers who cheat workers", Robert Rodriguez, 2/8/10)