Texas workers have the right to expect to receive the pay they are legally entitled to for doing their jobs. However, some workers are deprived of their full wages by employers. They might not be fully aware of what is happening or are afraid to speak up due to concerns that they will face consequences for doing so. Still, it is important to understand overtime/wage law to be paid fairly.
Wage theft often goes unreported. A recent investigation by a labor group sought to assess how often workers are impacted by this issue. A representative was stationed at construction sites to talk to workers about their pay. He said that companies use labor brokers for workers. Brokers are paid for this. Then workers receive approximately $10 per hour and do not get overtime. Nor do they receive health coverage, workers’ compensation or Social Security. Workers were unsure of what would happen to them if they suffered an on-the-job injury.
The man who visited the sites said that each had workers who were acquired via labor brokers. They worked in a variety of tasks including plumbing, electrical work, carpentry and more. Many of these non-unionized employees are immigrants. Since they earn more in the U.S., they do not consider their worker rights and what they should be getting based on the law. Employers are subject to fines for violating the laws against wage theft. Certain rules like forced arbitration open the door for employers to steal as much as $12.6 billion from workers who made less than $13 hourly in 2019. With forced arbitration, workers are not allowed to have a court proceeding to settle a wage claim.
Low-wage employees are common targets for wage theft and other employment violations. The Department of Labor lacks staff to catch every wage theft violation. Given the nationwide scope of the problem, workers should be aware of their options to get what they are legally owed. Having legal assistance with overtime/wage law may get the payments workers were deprived. A law firm experienced in employment law might help.