Contra Costa, federal government team up to combat wage theft

Contra Costa County and the U.S. Department of Labor on Friday vowed to work together to prevent wage theft and protect workers' rights.

Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton announced that her office and the federal government signed a memorandum of understanding.

The agreement means that the district attorney's office will set aside a specific set of resources to prosecute cases of criminal wage theft.

Becton said the effort to help fight labor trafficking, unfair business practices, payroll tax evasion, and wage and hour violations.

"Wage theft happens at all income levels. Some workers are paid less than their hourly wage, others are denied overtime, bonuses, vacation pay, and reimbursement of business expenses, also many victims don't know how to report this type of crime," she said at a press conference on Friday.

Becton said her office and the Department of Labor have had an informal relationship to investigate and prosecute wage theft and human labor trafficking cases since 2014.