The Federal Circuit Court has awarded a quarter of a million dollars to a teenage worker who was underpaid $8,000.
The ruling is unusual because courts normally direct penalties to the state, and not to victims of wage theft.
Experts have praised the decision, and further, believe it will encourage more workers to make claims for underpayments.
Judge Heather Riley says the high penalties are necessary to deter employees who rip off their workers.
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