NEW YORK (PIX11) — Manhattan prosecutors are going after corporations that steal workers’ wages and jeopardize their safety, officials announced Thursday.

The first-ever Worker Protection Unit at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office will prosecute and investigate wage theft in the borough, authorities said. In addition to criminal charges, the new unit will also focus on recouping wages and workplace harassment.

“Again and again, we see companies taking advantage of our most vulnerable populations, including low-income and undocumented New Yorkers, and abusing power imbalances to line their pockets. Together with our partners in law enforcement, the legislature, the community, and beyond, we will make sure workers are treated fairly, and bad faith employers who violate the laws are held accountable for their crimes,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said.

Bragg has also set up a Stolen Wage Fund to help victims recoup their money and is working with city lawmakers on a bill that would allow prosecutors to charge wage theft as a larceny, officials said. The district attorney’s office is investing $100,000 into the new fund.

 “Too many workers are subjected to wage theft every week, to the tune of $20 million to be exact – it’s a crime, and should be treated like one under law, plain and simple, and employers need to be held accountable,” said Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.