A report recently released by an Austin news station shows that Texas is the worst offender in the nation when it comes to wage complaints. Statistics show that the amount of unpaid wages owed to workers across our state has increased significantly in the past few years. The Texas Workforce Commission and the Department of Labor are responsible for investigating these types of complaints.
In 2009, the DOL received 1,558 complaints about unpaid wages in our state, which led to employers having to pay out $10 million. The number of complaints almost doubled in 2012 to 3,053. Due to those complaints, Texas workplaces had to pay employees $13 million in back pay that year. A spokesman for the TWC thinks that this increase could be due to the fact that more people are moving to our state, which creates the potential for more wage complaints.
Despite the growing number of wage complaints, the TWC says that this issue only affects a small percentage of employers. In many cases, the unpaid wages are due to unintentional errors. However, some employers do it intentionally. If evidence shows that employers intentionally short employees of pay, they are subject to a $1,000 fine for each wage claim.
Wage and hour laws can be very complicated, which is why agencies exist to help employees who feel that they have been taken advantage of by their employers. The TWC and DOL both work hard to protect employees and ensure they get all the wages they are owed. However, employees can also take matters into their own hands by finding out what legal options are available under the employment laws of our state.
Source: kvue.com, Full day's work, not a full day's pay, Andy Pierotti, Nov. 11, 2013