Minneapolis leaders push proposal to crack down on wage theft

New legislation being pushed by Minneapolis City Council members would crack down on wage theft by employers in the city.

Lawmakers say wage theft has become an increasing problem in recent years as city leaders have approved minimum wage increases and sick and safe time ordinances.

The proposal would allow city Civil Rights staff to enforce existing labor protections while adding new ones that will "complement" state law.

"Wage theft is an issue that’s inherently hard to track because it is all complaint-based, and we know that workers are very often fearful of retaliation if they do so, but we know that this is a serious problem in Minneapolis," explained Minneapolis City Council Member Linea Palmisano.

Officials say between 2005 and 2014, there were 5,500 violations found in Minneapolis by the U.S. Department of Labor, totaling $2.7 million. And, lawmakers say, that’s likely just a drop in the bucket.