El Paso, TX – Wage theft is more common than most people realize. Some cities and counties have such widespread problems with workers not being paid that they attempt to change the laws and procedures related to filing claims for unpaid wages.
The El Paso Times reported on the local government’s process of attempting to adopt a new ordinance that would increase penalties for businesses engaged in wage theft .
Ordinance attempts to help victims of wage theft
The wage theft ordinance in question was meant to cover contractors that were specifically hired by the city government to complete various projects. The city council had heard lots of testimony and had discussions about wage theft with people who had previously not been paid properly. If adopted, this ordinance could deny future contracts to those who have had issues with not paying workers properly, there were also provisions that could deny various licenses and permits to offenders and put them on a blacklist. There would also be an appeal process in place.
There were administrative concerns about how such an ordinance could affect projects that were ongoing if it became effective immediately. Various councilmembers had argued that the language in the ordinance needed to be revised and clarified before the formal vote.
Workers who spoke with the council were owed between a few hundred and tens of thousands of dollars. Many argued that the wage theft laws on the books were difficult to enforce and some had been waiting over a year to get paid properly. There were also statistics cited in the news report which show that many workers in the city are paid less than minimum wage, and about two thirds of workers who should receive overtime pay do not actually get it.
Enforcement of wage theft
Before a worker can be paid properly after an incident of wage theft, a number of things need to happen. They need to either file an unpaid wage claim with the Texas Workforce Commission or get their own attorney. If they merely tell their employer about the problem, it may not be solved. There also need to be investigations to determine if the worker is legitimately owed the claimed wages or not.
Labor attorneys in Texas
Moore and Associates is a firm that handles labor law issues in El Paso and other cities in Texas. Anyone who has questions about unpaid wages, overtime law, sexual harassment, or discrimination can schedule a meeting with their lawyers.
USAttorneys.com is a service that connects people with lawyers in their city or state. Anyone who needs a referral to an attorney in their area can call 800-672-3103 for assistance.
Firm contact info:
440 Louisiana Street, Suite 675, Houston, TX 77002