When an employer does not pay a worker what he or she is owed or somehow blocks him or her from getting fair pay, that is a form of wage theft. Employees in Tennessee have the right to pursue their unpaid wages, even if that means engaging in wage and hour disputes, and taking their complaints public. This happened recently in another state when truck drivers staged a protest over alleged wage theft.
The claims made by the truckers center around various concerns over pay, including earning honest pay on their loads, paying fair insurance rates and reasonable broker regulations. The main intent of the protest was to point out unpaid wages from brokers for work already completed. The protest actually blocked traffic and caused congestion, leading to law enforcement coming to speak with the truckers to inform them they could not continue to impede vehicles.
There are ways to legally stage a public protest, and the police offered to discuss these options with the truckers. However, the police chief said that he was concerned by the allegations brought by the protesters regarding the actions of the brokers, and he was planning to initiate an investigation into the claims. Wage theft is actually a criminal offense, and it can result in formal charges.
Wage and hour disputes are complex, and Tennessee employees may feel it is necessary for them to protest in a public manner the treatment they have been receiving. While this can bring attention to their plight, it may be more effective to take legal action to secure unpaid wages and compensation. A civil claim against an employer is a reasonable way to fight back against wage theft.