If you’re a worker in Texas, you’re probably no stranger to wage theft. This happens when an employer fails to pay an employee the wages or benefits to which they are legally entitled. This can happen in several ways, some of which are more obvious than others.
How does wage theft happen?
An employer not paying overtime is one of the most common forms of wage theft, leading to overtime compensation claims. Overtime is time that is worked beyond a regular workweek, and it’s usually paid at one and a half times an employee’s regular rate of pay.
Another common way wage theft happens is when an employer doesn’t pay the minimum wage. The minimum wage in Texas is currently $7.25 per hour, but many employers don’t bother to comply with this law.
Wage theft can also occur when an employer doesn’t provide the proper breaks, or when it requires people to work off the clock. Lastly, if your employer deducts money from your paycheck for things like uniforms or equipment, it may be committing wage theft.
What can you do about wage theft?
First, you should try to talk to your employer about it. Many times, wage theft is the result of an honest mistake, and your employer may be willing to correct it. If talking to your employer doesn’t work, you can file a complaint with the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). The TWC is the state agency that investigates wage theft complaints.
You can also file a lawsuit against your employer. If you decide to do this, you may want to familiarize yourself with the legal process and what to expect.
No one deserves to be a victim of wage theft, and you have options if it happens to you. No matter what you decide to do, however, it’s important to act quickly to rectify the problem. The sooner you do something about it, the likelier you are to recover the wages you’re owed.