Charleston Area Justice Ministry aims to protect against wage theft

Charleston Area Justice Ministry aims to protect against wage theft
August 19 19:37 2016 Print This Article

A large contingent of the nonprofit organization Charleston Area Justice Ministry (CAJM) attended the Charleston County Council Finance Committee meeting Thursday, August 18. The mission statement of this faith based alliance made up of 30 congregations includes doing research, educating the public, and publicly addressing the root causes of, and solutions to, poverty and injustice. The organization aims to make elected officials aware of their concerns and encourage solutions.

CAJM is lobbying County Council to provide funding for a lawyer from South Carolina Legal Services, who will work exclusively on wage theft. Wage theft occurs when employers do not pay employees when employees leave a job and don’t receive a final paycheck. Other concerns are requiring employees to pay for uniforms and re-distributing tip earnings to other employees.

The group estimates that wage theft costs American workers $40 Billion a year. Many Charleston-area restaurants have been accused of wage theft. Since the burden of proof is on the employees, it is difficult for them to resolve their grievances. South Carolina Legal Services assists employees resolve wage theft grievances through arbitration or lawsuits.

Charleston County Council funded a South Carolina Legal Services wage theft lawyer for one year. CAJM is seeking annual funding.

CAJM’s Co-President, Reverend Charles Heyward, Sr., said, “Our taxes pay for policemen and firemen to protect us. Our taxes should also fund protection from wage theft.”

Councilman Teddie Pryor asked to defer the vote until the next fiance meeting on September 1.

To learn more about CAJM refer to their website CharlestonAreaJusticeMinistry.org.