On April 17, 2015, Dr. David Weil, the administrator of the Wage and Hour Division for the U.S. Department of Labor, commented how workers across America are denied wages that they earned and are legally entitled to. He used the example of Irma and José, and their 63 hour weeks working in a grocery store. They told Dr. Weil that they were being paid three dollars an hour “off the books.” Without the Department’s investigators, Irma and José and their co-workers would be unable to get the $43,000 in back wages they were entitled to, at $7.25 per hour, for nearly 6000 hours of hard work.
In the case of Chrishell and Kanita, they worked 17 hour days, but were deprived of overtime pay until Department of Labor investigators got involved. In the end, $70,000 in back wages were returned to the staff. Dr. Weil stated that stories just like these could fill volumes, and that the U.S. Department of Labor’s most recent enforcement numbers show that they helped more than 270,000 workers in just the past year.