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Lawsuit says Texas company withheld wages from disabled workers

There are certain rights that you have as an employee that should not be infringed upon, and one of the most important of these is your right to fair and equitable wages. Your pay cannot be tampered with by your employee, nor can they utilize tactics to illegally short you when payday comes around.

One way sneaky employers will try to skirt the law is by taking advantage of vulnerable employees -- a despicable practice that can leave the employee with a dramatically reduced income and the company with a justifiable blemish on its record.

Sadly, a Texas company defrauded a group of mentally disabled employees by paying them well under minimum wage (41 cents per hour); by taking some income from a portion of the employees who stayed at a housing unit provided by the company; and by never increasing their hourly pay for more than three decades. In fact, their paychecks would stay the same even if they worked overtime.

That wasn't the end of it though: even with this unfair pay structure established, the disabled Henry's employees were physically and verbally abused by other employees -- amounting to a hostile workplace. They also seemingly had inadequate services and facilities, as the lawsuit alleged that "adverse terms and conditions of employment" permeated the Henry's workplace for these disabled employees.

The company, Henry's Turkey Service, was sued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for these transgressions and recently a judgment was made in the employees' favor. Henry's will have to pay the 32 disabled employees $1.37 million in back pay.

Source: Associated Press, "Judge: Texas firm must pay disabled workers at Iowa turkey plant $1.4 million in back pay," Sept. 19, 2012

  • Legal issues pertaining to your place of employment must be handled promptly and professionally. If you would like to learn more about the topic, please visit our Sugar Land employment law page.

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