Every year, thousands of Texas workers aren’t paid everything they are owed for their work. Some employers practice wage theft in a variety of ways that may or may not be obvious. Many employees in the state and around the country are unaware of their legal rights to fair wages, and they unknowingly allow employers to steal their wages. To learn more about your rights as an employee in Texas, speak with a dedicated Austin wage theft lawyer at Ross • Scalise Employment Lawyers.
What Is Wage Theft?
Wage theft can take many forms, but the basic problem remains the same: wage theft describes an employer unlawfully failing or refusing to pay an employee for completed work. Employers may deny wages rightfully owed to an employee through various methods, including:
- Failing to pay overtime
- Violating minimum wage requirements
- Misclassifying employees
- Illegally deducting pay
- Working “off the clock”
- Failing to pay employees at all
Wage theft hurts employees, but it also affects responsible businesses that can’t compete with companies who underpay their employees. In Texas, construction workers and immigrant workers are common victims of wage theft in the form of minimum wage violations. Victims of wage theft are unable to pay for basic needs, creating a broken system. If you’ve been the victim of wage theft, it is important you seek justice and speak with an Austin wage theft lawyer as soon as possible.
What Does Texas Payday Law Say About Wage Theft?
Under Chapter 61 of the Texas Labor Code, the Texas Workforce Commission investigates wage theft claims according to Texas Payday Law, which covers all businesses entities other than the federal and state governments. According to Texas Payday Law, all individuals who perform a service for compensation are classified as employees except for immediate relatives and independent contractors.
Payments subject to the Texas Payday Law include compensation for services rendered, commissions and bonuses according to employer-employee agreement, and fringe benefits due under a written agreement. Texas Payday Law requires employers to pay employees for all time worked, including some work-related travel time and other “compensable” time. Compensable time is any time during which an employer requires an employee to be on duty.
If an employer violates Texas Payday Laws, the courts may hold the company responsible for paying back wages and other damages according to wage theft laws.
How to File a Claim for Wage Theft in Texas
If your employer has withheld your wages, unlawfully docked your pay, changed your time records to avoid paying you for all of the time you worked at the correct pay rate, paid you below minimum wage, misclassified you as an independent contractor, or committed another form of wage theft, it’s possible to claim your unpaid wages. You do not have to still be an employee to make a claim. Many victims of wage theft mistakenly believe it’s more expensive to file a claim than what the unpaid wages are worth. However, an experienced Austin employment law attorney can make it worth the effort.
You can file a written complaint against your employer for wage theft through the Texas Workforce Commission or contact a local attorney to handle filing a claim for you. It’s beneficial to hire a lawyer with a successful track record handling wage theft situations to work to help you seek full compensation for your lost wages, court fees, and more.
Some unpaid wage cases turn into collective actions, which are when multiple workers have wage claims against the same company. Instead of having many claims, you and the group of employees with the same problem can stand together using the same lawyer to demand compensation from your employer.
Hire an Austin Wage Theft Lawyer at Ross • Scalise Employment Lawyers
When you need a reliable, skilled wage theft attorneys, come to Ross • Scalise Employment Lawyers to connect with lawyers who truly care about your future. Our attorneys understand wage theft laws and know how to successfully litigate a wage theft case. You shouldn’t have to cope with the damaging effects of someone else’s criminal wage activity. Contact us today to discuss your case with an experienced labor lawyer in Austin, TX.