Waiting tables to put yourself through college is tough. It's even tougher when the restaurant you work for is breaking the law by not paying you the minimum wage.
When Cynthia Marquez was a waitress at El Toro Loco in Memphis, she was only paid in tips - the restaurant paid her nothing. Some days she made just $60 after working for 11 hours.
Cynthia is just one of the thousands of victims of wage theft in Shelby County. Even though federal law requires all workers to be paid minimum wage, and most workers to be paid overtime, it's easy for businesses to get away with wage theft.
That's because there are so few federal wage and hour investigators that they can't possibly investigate all the wage theft cases that are brought to them. Tennessee is one of just 5 states with no minimum wage law, so the Tennessee Department of Labor can do little to help workers who experience wage theft.
That's why a growing number of people are calling on the Shelby County Commission to pass a local wage theft law. If passed, the wage theft ordinance will allow workers to recover their stolen wages through a local complaint and hearing process. Miami-Dade County passed such a similar law in 2010, and it has already recovered over $400,000 in stolen wages for workers.
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