•  Summary 
  •  
  •  Actions 
  •  
  •  Committee Votes 
  •  
  •  Floor Votes 
  •  
  •  Memo 
  •  
  •  Text 
  •  
  •  LFIN 
  •  
  •  Chamber Video/Transcript 

A02022 Summary:

BILL NOA02022A
 
SAME ASSAME AS S04009-A
 
SPONSORCruz
 
COSPNSRAubry, Barnwell, DeStefano, Dickens, Fernandez, Cook, Fall, Griffin, Epstein, Rivera J, Gottfried, Williams, McMahon, Weprin, Vanel, McDonough, Montesano, Ramos
 
MLTSPNSRCarroll, Galef, Thiele
 
Amd §§155.00 & 155.05, Pen L
 
Adds wage theft to the types of activities included in the crime of larceny.
Go to top

A02022 Memo:

NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY
MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION
submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
 
BILL NUMBER: A2022A
 
SPONSOR: Cruz
  TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the penal law, in relation to wage theft   PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: The purpose of this bill is to allow prosecutors to seek stronger penal- ties against employers who steal wages from workers.   SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Amend the Penal Law to include wages in the definition of "property." Subsection one of section 155.00 of the Penal Law is amended to read as follows: Penal Law § 155.00 Larceny; definitions of terms. "Property" means any money, wages, personal property, real property, computer data, computer program, thing in action, evidence of debt or contract, or any article, substance or thing of value, including any gas, steam, water or electricity, which is provided for a charge or compensation. Add a new subsection to the Penal Law's larceny statute to define the term "workforce." Section 155.00 of the Penal Law is amended by adding subsection 10 to read as follows: Penal Law § 155.00 Larceny; definitions of terms. 10. "Workforce" means a group of one or more people providing services in exchange for wages for one person or entity. Expand the definition of larceny to allow aggregation of victims into a workforce in larceny cases where the prop- erty stolen is wages. Subsection two of section 155.05 of the Penal Law is amended by adding subdivision f to read as follows: Penal Law § 155.05 Larceny; defined. 2. Larceny includes a wrongful taking, obtaining or withholding of another's property, with the intent prescribed in subdivision one of this section, committed in any of the following ways: (f) By wage theft. A person obtains property by wage theft when he agrees to hire a person to perform services and the person perform s such services and the defendant withholds such wages from said person. In a prosecution for wage theft, for the purposes of venue, it is permissible to aggre- gate all takings from one person from one defendant, into one larceny count, even if the takings occurred in multiple counties. It is also permissible to aggregate takings fro m a workforce into one larceny count.   JUSTIFICATION: Wage theft is a form of worker exploitation, akin to labor trafficking and other violations of employees' rights. Its perpetrators take advan- tage of some of our communities' most vulnerable populations, including undocumented immigrants and low-income workers, who often are not empowered to stand up for themselves. According to Cornell University's Worker Institute, wage theft in New York accounts for nearly $1 billion in lost wages each year and affects tens of thousands of workers - that's close to $20 million per week. Conventional wisdom suggests that wage theft solely affects low income workers who are cheated through subminimum wage or unpaid overtime schemes. However, the reality is that the problem is much larger in scope and much more pervasive, especially within the construction indus- try in New York. By committing wage theft and associated frauds, these companies unfairly lower their costs, making it nearly impossible for law-abiding busi- nesses to compete. And every taxpayer shoulders the effects of wage theft because when the workers are underinsured, it forces government to step in and incur costs that should have been borne by their employer. The "Wage Theft Initiative," a collaboration between seven local District Attorney's Offices (which includes all five New York City DA's, plus Westchester and Nassau Counties), the Department of Investigation, the New York City Comptroller's Office, the New York State Department of Labor, and the New York State Attorney General's Office, has resulted in ten criminal cases and accounted for more than $2.5 million in stolen wages affecting over 400 construction workers, since just December 2017. But much more must be done to protect hardworking New Yorkers from unscrupulous employers. When a defendant steals wages from various employees on an ongoing basis, his intent is not to steal individually from one worker, but to steal from his workforce. In People v. Cox, 286 N.Y. 137, (1941), the court held that "the People may prosecute for a single crime a defendant who, pursuant to a single intent and one gener- al fraudulent plan, steals in the aggregate as a felon and not as a petty thief." Therefore, the Penal Law's section on larceny should be amended to allow aggregation of victims into a workforce in larceny cases where the prop- erty stolen is wages. This would allow prosecutors to seek stronger penalties against employers who steal wages from workers.   PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: This is a new bill.   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS: None.   EFFECTIVE DATE: This bill shall take effect immediately.
Go to top

A02022 Text:



 
                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________
 
                                         2022--A
 
                               2021-2022 Regular Sessions
 
                   IN ASSEMBLY
 
                                    January 14, 2021
                                       ___________
 
        Introduced  by  M.  of  A.  CRUZ,  AUBRY,  BARNWELL, DeSTEFANO, DICKENS,
          FERNANDEZ,  COOK,  FALL,  GRIFFIN,  EPSTEIN,   J. RIVERA,   GOTTFRIED,
          WILLIAMS,  McMAHON,  WEPRIN,  VANEL,  McDONOUGH,  MONTESANO,  RAMOS --
          Multi-Sponsored by -- M. of A.  CARROLL, GALEF, THIELE  --  read  once
          and  referred  to the Committee on Codes -- committee discharged, bill
          amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said  commit-
          tee
 
        AN ACT to amend the penal law, in relation to wage theft
 
          The  People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
 
     1    Section 1. Subdivision 1 of  section  155.00  of  the  penal  law,  as
     2  amended  by chapter 514 of the laws of 1986, is amended and a new subdi-
     3  vision 10 is added to read as follows:
     4    1. "Property" means any money, wages, personal property, real  proper-
     5  ty,  computer  data, computer program, thing in action, evidence of debt
     6  or contract, or any article, substance or thing of value, including  any
     7  gas,  steam,  water  or  electricity,  which is provided for a charge or
     8  compensation.
     9    10. "Workforce" means a group of one or more people providing services
    10  in exchange for wages for one person or entity.
    11    § 2. Subdivision 2 of section 155.05 of the penal law  is  amended  by
    12  adding a new paragraph (f) to read as follows:
    13    (f) By wage theft.
    14    A  person obtains property by wage theft when he or she agrees to hire
    15  a person to perform services and the person performs such  services  and
    16  the  defendant  withholds  such wages from said person. In a prosecution
    17  for wage theft, for the purposes of venue, it is permissible  to  aggre-
    18  gate  all  takings  from one person from one defendant, into one larceny
    19  count, even if the takings occurred in multiple  counties.  It  is  also
    20  permissible  to  aggregate  takings  from  a  workforce into one larceny
    21  count.
    22    § 3. This act shall take effect immediately.
 
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD06159-03-1
Go to top