Wage theft in professional kitchens: Conned or complicit?

Richard N. S. Robinson, Matthew L. Brenner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)


Wage theft, which is the non-payment of employee entitlements, is a term that has gained currency in the legal and policy literature. In Australia, the context for this study, pressure has been applied to the hospitality industry after a string of revelations, many involving celebrity chef business interests, of routine wage violations. A national study into the working experiences of chefs, involving individual and group interviews, investigated the dimensionality of wage theft forms in professional kitchens. Besides cataloguing a number of direct and indirect wage theft genres, the study has revealed that alongside creative and exploitative organizational practices, victims are often complicit in their own mistreatment. Theoretically, this augments our understandings of how workers can become disempowered in organizational contexts. Practically, it suggests interventions directed at both victims and perpetrators are required to complement policy and jurisdictional approaches.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-106
JournalHospitality & Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes

Cite this