Increasing the Enforcement of Wage Theft Laws

Wage theft—the unlawful failure to pay wages rightfully owed to a worker—is rampant among New Mexico’s low-wage workers. Wage theft can take many forms, including minimum wage or overtime violations, the failure to pay employees for work performed, and illegal paycheck deductions. According to a 2012 survey of agricultural workers conducted by the Center and our partners, 67% of New Mexico’s farmworkers reported being the victim of wage theft in the previous year.

Regrettably, the state agency that is supposed to be enforcing New Mexico’s labor laws, the NM Department of Workforce Solutions, is wrongfully dismissing some workers, and failing to properly process and investigate the wage theft claims of others. Moreover, clients are regularly being told incorrect information about the remedies available to them under the law.

The Center is working to ensure that the NM Department of Workforce Solutions properly enforces wage theft laws and processes the claims of low-income workers in accordance with the law.

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