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What Happens When an Employer Does Not Give a Worker Their Proper Wages?

— September 15, 2022

Workplaces are required to keep complete records of all their employees’ pay by law. These should be available for inspection upon request.

El Paso, TX – A worker may not be paid properly for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes there are payroll glitches and computer errors. The worker may not be properly classified, and therefore missing out on overtime pay. Other times, the employer may be purposely trying to save money at the expense of their employees through illegal practices. In any of these scenarios, the employer still needs to give their workers any outstanding pay, plus applicable overtime. Employers who refuse to follow wage and labor laws can be sued and face additional consequences from government agencies.   

What is wage theft?

Wage theft is a widespread problem that affects lots of workers in Texas and throughout the rest of the United States each year. This costs American workers millions annually. 

Wage theft is the term for any illegal withholding, deductions, failure to pay, or other unethical practices that result in a worker not receiving their full amount of outstanding pay. Even if the employer has made an honest mistake with their payroll, it still needs to be corrected. The worker has the right to file a claim with the Texas Workforce Commission and bring a lawsuit for any outstanding wages under the Texas Payday Law. 

Overtime issues

Man and woman in a meeting; image by Charles, via
Image by Charles, via

Workplaces will often try to say most or all of their employees are salaried, or that they fit into some other category such as an independent contractor to avoid paying out overtime. Each non-exempt employee who works more than forty hours in a seven day consecutive period is entitled to overtime pay of at least one and one half times their regular rate. Just like any other form of missing wages, the worker can bring a case to try to recover overtime pay if it is missing. These missing overtime wages must be paid out in addition to any wages at the standard pay rate that have not been paid as well. 

Asking the employer to correct the problem

The worker can start by checking their pay records and asking the employer to correct any problems that they notice. Workplaces are required to keep complete records of all their employees’ pay by law. These should be available for inspection upon request. If the employer does not fix the issue and comply with the worker’s request, they can file a formal complaint with the Texas Workforce Commission. 

Advice from a labor attorney in El Paso

Moore and Associates is a firm that deals with unpaid wages, sexual harassment, and discrimination issues in Texas. Their lawyers are available to meet with anyone who has questions about wage theft and related issues.

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