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Digital wage theft in the modern workplace

Workers are entitled to receive payment for all work completed. The use of technology in the workplace to document time worked is susceptible to manipulation by employers. The theft of wages is a form of larceny, and thus a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  

Workers should be aware of types of digital wage theft from employee time-tracking software. The same software programs that document an employee’s work time, can also be used by employers to facilitate digital wage theft

3 types of digital wage theft

Technology has facilitated both the efficiency of payment and payment fraud. Here are three common ways that employers can commit digital wage theft:

  1. Rounding: This is the practice of setting the employee tracking software to round down. These system settings do not reflect the actual time that an employee has worked and can result in digital wage theft.
  2. Automatic break deductions: When employees’ time is automatically deducted whether the full or partial break was even taken, it could be considered digital wage theft.  Time records should accurately reflect the actual working time.
  3. Time shaving: In the past, timesheets would have to be physically altered or manipulated for employers to commit wage theft. With digital software programs and applications, “time shaving” can be done with a few keystrokes and a click. 

These three wage theft tactics have become more difficult to detect with digital wage theft. Often forensic accounting and software system analysis must be carried out to document and detect wage theft. 

Any worker can become susceptible to digital wage theft in the modern workplace. An attorney that is experienced in employment law can help to determine the merits of a case. 

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