Wage theft can be a serious problem for Texas construction workers. From failing to correctly calculate overtime pay to violating minimum wage laws, wage theft can take many forms. Typically, you have the right to file a claim if your employer has unlawfully withheld your pay or failed to pay you for all the hours you worked. An experienced labor attorney can evaluate the facts of your case and help you decide on next steps. This sometimes involves filing a claim with the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) or the Department of Labor (DOL). In other instances, filing suit in a court of law may be appropriate. At the Lore Law Firm, we are experienced in advocating for employees to help them receive the pay they deserve.
What Forms Can Wage Theft Take for Construction Workers?
Wage theft can be insidious, and it can take many different forms. Examples of wage theft include:
- Failing to meet minimum wage requirements
- Denying workers rightful overtime pay
- Requiring workers to work off the clock
- Misclassifying workers as independent contractors when they are actually employees.
Some cases of wage theft can be as egregious as failing to pay workers at all. The failure to pay workers at all is one form of wage theft that too many construction workers have experienced in recent years. This is especially true in the emergency repair, remediation and disaster cleanup business. In one such case, six Texas workers traveled from Texas to assist in repairing a senior living center after a terrible Iowa thunderstorm. The promised pay for these workers was stopped soon after their work began.
In another case, the DOL fined a Texas construction company $28,380 in back wages after it violated overtime regulations. According to government officials, that company improperly classified employees as independent contractors, resulting in violations of overtime regulations. Such regulations required the company to pay time and a half of the workers’ regular rates for all hours over forty in a single workweek. The investigation also revealed that the company did not accurately or appropriately keep the required time and payroll records.
What Steps Can I Take If I Was Not Paid for All the Hours I Worked as a Construction Worker?
Construction workers have several potential avenues to pursue if they wish to obtain the wages they deserve. Construction workers could pursue claims with the TWC or DOL, file a lawsuit by hiring their own labor law attorney, or seek a mechanic’s lien for unpaid wages. Texas’s mechanic’s lien statute allows both independent contractors and employees to pursue this last option in situations where they have not been paid for construction, demolition, or renovation work. Post-construction cleanup work can also apply.
A mechanic’s lien can help ensure that workers are compensated for the labor they have performed on an eligible project. This type of lien can require a property owner to pay the worker’s labor costs even in cases where the subcontractor who officially hired the laborer vanishes.
Acting quickly can be crucial when it comes to filing a mechanic’s lien. This area of law can be complex, and it has strict, and often short, deadlines that must be met. Construction workers may have as little as thirty days after finishing work on a project to file a mechanic’s lien; therefore, consulting with an experienced attorney quickly may be necessary.
Contact a Lawyer with the Lore Law Firm to Discuss Next Steps in Fighting Construction Worker Wage Theft
Like all other kinds of employees, construction workers deserve to be paid for all the hours they work. At the Lore Law Firm, we advocate for our clients to receive all of their rightful compensation. We can evaluate the facts of your case and guide you on potential steps to take in preserving your rights. To get a free and confidential review of your situation, you can contact us online or call (713) 782-5291.