Many Houston residents may be familiar with United Towing & Transport, a roadside assistance company that operates in Texas (in addition to California and Alabama). You may recognize their logo while driving on the highway; or maybe you recognize the name because, unfortunately, you have had to call them to get your car towed to an auto shop.
Well now many more residents will know the United Towing & Transport name, as the company was found by federal investigators to have violated numerous wage and hour policies. As is usually the case with wage and hour disputes, the case revolves around the company misclassifying employees to mask underhanded financial dealings.
In the case of United Towing & Transport, they did not properly obey overtime pay laws and, worst of all, they skimmed pay off of employee paychecks to help pay for damage and repairs to their tow trucks. As a result, many drivers who worked for the company had their pay rate come in at under the federal minimum wage requirements, which is $7.25 per hour.
Federal investigators ordered that the company pay 72 employees nearly $160,000 (divided amongst the employees) for the transgressions.
It is difficult for employees to know when they are being neglected through their paycheck. There are many deductions on every paycheck, and it is possible for a company to perform a devious act and steal from their employees. However, there are federal mandates that obviously prohibit this kind of behavior -- and such behavior is uncovered, the affected employees have the ability to band together and enact tort litigation against their employer.
Source: Houston Chronicle, "Towing company pays back wages to 72," L.M. Sixel, May 21, 2013