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> I think more accurately, a business owner cannot pay less than minimum wage

In food service, never say “cannot”!

I always hear this. It's blame shifting. Food service workers are the first to foist the burden, responsibility on to the customer for their inability or lack of willingness to protest / report their employers illegal behavior.

It's not my role as a customer to support workers at a paper mill with lax safety standards because the workers won't go to OSHA, why should it be my role to ensure you have a livable wage because you won't go to to L&I to report wage theft/other practices?

I’m in a left leaning jurisdiction, and the labour board doesn’t do a very good job of investigating these complaints.

And if they do award you back-pay, it may still be on you to follow through on collecting.

There is big structural barriers for the system to work in favour of employees that aren’t being paid properly.

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