There’s a variety of ways that wage theft happens. Sometimes employers will refuse to pay outright, but others refuse to pay overtime or misclassify their employees as independent contractors.
Eric Stone, Houston Public Media | Posted on March 28, 2019
Last August, Harris County prosecutors filed charges against a homeowner who allegedly refused to pay a house painter. The district attorney’s office charged the homeowner with theft of service.
As the county’s first-ever wage theft case, it was big news. But, it was just one case. In fact, hundreds of Houstonians didn’t get paid for their hard work last year, according to community organization Faith and Justice Worker Center. The organization collected 488 claims of wage theft and other labor violations from across the Houston area between February 2018 and February 2019.
“In this initial report, we wanted to publish the total number of wage theft claims that we received over the last year, which amounts to $1.2 million dollars,” said Silvia Chicas, the Information Manager at the Faith and Justice Worker Center.
She said there’s a variety of ways that wage theft happens. Sometimes employers will refuse to pay outright, but some cases are more nuanced. Some refuse to pay overtime or misclassify their employees as independent contractors.
“Employers who are out to break the law have very creative means by which to steal from working people,” Chicas said.
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